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

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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