THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May16

Essex Wildlife Trust

One thing we’ve learned is that people in horticulture really are welcoming and keen to share their knowledge. And some people have a wealth of knowledge…

Essex Wildlife Trust ran a wildflower id and survey skills course earlier this week, with local botanist and fern fanatic Tim Pyner. The day was spent wandering through the nature reserve at Leigh-on-Sea noting down what plants could be found, the results then being submitted to Plantlife in order to map the spread of species – and find out what has left and what has arrived!

Tim was completely self-taught. He said, “I went out on weekends and studied plants. I would learn by spending twelve months just looking at grasses, getting to know them. Then in the winter when nothing was growing I would study mosses and lichens.”

In October Tim will visit Japan to study ferns in the mountains. What an adventure that will be, for this self-confessed pteridomaniac… but before he goes, in September he will be taking another wildflower id course. We recommend you go and listen well, to learn all you can from Tim Pyner, the fern fanatic.

Recommended Reading:

The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition) – How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland

Sarah Raven’s Wild Flowers

British Wild Flowers: A photographic guide to every common species (Collins Complete Guide)

And for any other fernophiles…

Fern Fever: The Story of Pteridomania

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a  reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …

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