THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Weather warnings, high winds, flooded houses and waterlogged fields. The damage is mounting.
(Although high winds and the weight of the evergreen tree in the picture contributed to it falling over, it was the sodden ground in which its roots stood that caused it to tip, laying bare the root system you see. The ground was so wet and soft the roots had nothing to anchor to.)
Environment secretary Owen Paterson and Prime Minister David Cameron have pledged to dredge river channels, believing it to be a way to prevent flooding. But it is the saturated land, unable to hold more water, that needs looking at. Dredging rivers will just quicken the flow of water, causing further flooding at pinch points in the waterways.
Speaking to a gardener at South East Essex Organic Gardeners he insisted that, should there be a high tide or a storm surge towards London, the Thames barrier will save the city. However, the water has to go somewhere. Essex will be flooded.
This is the problem – the country needs places for the water to be held, allowing it to percolate down in its own time.
In Copenhagen solutions are being aired to cope with major ‘cloudburst challenges’. Surface runoff will be caught in rainwater catchment tanks and held there, below street level, possibly supporting plants that have no problem spending some of their lives being flooded. This will be the future for all major cities, where paved areas don’t allow water to filter away.
Most streets no longer have front gardens, as a necessity for parking spaces for two or more cars mean more asphalt, large stretches of it on each estate. Perhaps, as gardeners and garden owners, we can begin changing this and combating flooding in urban areas by adding more vegetation to these areas, or harvesting rainwater in tanks below the surface?
This problem is not going away. Adding sandbags is action too late. Depleting the force of fast flowing water and allowing rivers to stretch themselves out across floodplains is the way forward.
We hope at Modern Mint we can help design a garden that helps solve this problem.
I am running a topiary workshop in 2020 with the wonderful topiary artist Charlotte Molesworth at her spectacular topiary garden in Kent. This is a topiary workshop where you will learn to clip, so be prepared to do some cutting. We start with a tour of the garden, which Charlotte and her husband Donald have been cultivating for 34 years. It is organic, full of wildlife and has the most extraordinary pruned shapes made from yew and boxwood. You can see more photos of the garden in an article in the Guardian here: Topiary Garden In Kent What Else Will …
On Monday night I gave a talk to the Hardy Plant Society Middlesex. Below are a few links for further information based on some of the ideas discussed in the talk: Real Seeds – a fantastic supplier of fruit and vegetable seeds for growers. Boxwood Caterpillar Advice – from the European Boxwood & Topiary Society. I will also write a little companion piece this winter with more information and some topiary techniques, so watch out for that on this website. Boxwood Lure & Nematodes – my preferred option for dealing with the caterpillar. Discount code for 10% off is EBTSBOX29GBZ …