THE MODERN MINT BLOG

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 these extremes are so weird are they now to become the norm? If, like me, you care about your carbon footprint and the effect it is having on the climate, then you can start trying to reduce it by taking one simple action – switching to a green energy supplier now! I am pushing this a lot at the moment for two reasons – we need to do more to reduce the impact of carbon released into the atmosphere, and because we both get a financial benefit from the supplier if you sign up. They are a good company and I back what they do and like to be a part of it. Join now and make a difference in the easiest way possible.)

Hardy Orchids For Your Garden

Which orchids does James Wong suggest we grow?

  • Habenaria radiata – known as the Egret Orchid. Which if you know the bird, gives you a pretty good idea of what the flower looks like! Hardy down to -5.
  • Cypripedium ‘Emil’ – slipper orchid, hardy down to -20.
  • Calanthe ‘Takane’ – taller than the others, with flowers 50cm high. Generous in flower.

He also recommends, as an extra bonus, Bletilla and Pleione.

What a kind man to point us in the hardy orchid direction!

Orchids in Southend

A few years ago the Council forgot, or were late, cutting the verges on the road into Southend-on-Sea. Bee orchids came up, and looked amazing. Especially as it was such a surprise to see them, no-on heaven planted them in the first place.

The Council then got caught up with work and cut them down, but that is what can happen when you do things by the book. You tick a box and don’t see what is in front of you, looking beautiful.

I’m pretty sure there is a lesson in that. A not very subtle one either!

Do make sure you check out the article and explore these hardy orchids. I know I will…. and who knows, they may become the subject of other talk for the future. Much like my plant experiments from the last few years went into my latest talk ‘A Very British Garden’.

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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