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

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

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Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

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Sep27

Book Yourself A Topiary Workshop 2022

organic topiary snow

Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022