THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug03

Gardening Jobs August

Japanese Gardeners

What are the gardening jobs to do in August?

1) Make hay while the sun shines (you can always do this by scything…)

2) Prune wisteria.

3) Deadhead your dahlias.

4) Be water-wise (don’t water your lawn, use harvested rainwater instead of tap water. If you haven’t harvested any rainwater, try somewhere like Harrod Horticultural for ideas.)

5) Start thinking about ordering bulbs for planting in Autumn – we are doing a garden design in Upminster, Essex at the moment and will be adding lots of daffodils – cannot wait!

6) Use up your courgettes – put them in chocolate cake, barbeque them, slice them thinly, add creme fraiche and then grate lemon zest over the top – they are a brilliant vegetable. We are growing Striato d’Napoli this year and it looks great…

7) Harvest your blackcurrants (what do you mean you haven’t planted any blackcurrants?) and make cassis or add to porridge. Yum!

8) Trim your yew and beech hedging.

9) It’s hot. So enjoy the last days of summer and don’t work too hard…

For more in depth knowledge on what to do now, try these books…

RHS Gardening Through The Year

Four-season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long

Alan Titchmarsh the Gardener’s Year

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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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …

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Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …

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