THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Oct14

10 Ideas for Environment Friendly Gardening

Verbena bonariensis

Worried about the environment? Here are ten ideas to help you think about your gardening footprint and what you can do to help the planet!

1) Grow your own food and flowers. Asparagus, sweetcorn, peas… they all taste amazing when you can nibble them straight away. By choosing well, you can also have varieties that are far tastier than anything the supermarkets sell. Don’t be worried about the work involved either – by growing perennial vegetables and lots of fruit you don’t have to work as hard for a big bounty, as it will come back every year!

2) Don’t irrigate. We are writing this as the rain hammers down, just like it has all week. We now have a garden design business in Essex, which is a notoriously dry area of the UK – but we still don’t think you need to irrigate your plants. Let them finish flowering sooner than they would with a few good soaks, they will come back next year. As will the green in your lawn…

3) Right plant right place. This will help with the no irrigation idea – get your rosemary on the exposed, hot, shadeless bank then leave it alone. It will love those conditions and not grow as leggy and odd as it would in ‘better’ conditions.

4) Plant small. From seed (or seedball) if you can. Learn to be patient and let your garden mature the way it wants to – there really is somethign beautiful about turning a blank canvas into a heartwarming garden step by step by step…

5) Use the materials you already have. If you find some old metal in your garden, or bits of wood – why not use them as sculpture, or frames to grow your favourite plants up? No need to send them to landfill (it may feel like you’re making it someone else’s problem, but it won’t be eventually when there is knowhere to send it… or worse (!!!) taxes rise to cover the cost of recycling it….)

6) Buy less plants. Garden centres, like supermarkets, generally only give you what travels well and what looks great for the few weeks it is in flower. We know why this is – who wants to go to a shop on a Saturday afternoon and come home with something that is just a stick. But use a little imagination, have a little trust, and support those independent nurseries out there who can offer you something unusual (or at least, like idea 3, the right plant for you) so that it doesn’t finish flowering and then die that winter. You also don’t end up with thousands of plastic pots that no-one wants or knows what to do with…

7) Have a weedy lawn. What is wrong with a daisy or two? Or even a meadow…?

8) Compost. Not cooked food, but all of your other green waste. It will provide a wonderful environment for the bugs to live, and this then encourages birds who can come there to feed. Plus, you can never have enough compost, whether it is a rich manure for your vegetable patch or a leaf mould/sandy mix for your seeds.

9) Use less chemicals. Take a look in your shed – are all those boxes and tins necessary? You can even reduce the amount of chemicals you put on your lawn.

10) Plant trees. Because it is such a satisfying job. From the physicality of digging the hole to the moment, ten years down the line, when you look around and think – blimey, where has all the light gone from the garden! We love planting trees. Go, do it!

We hope this helps you with your efforts to be more in tune with your environment. Happy gardening!

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.