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’.

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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Feb28

Open Garden Charlotte Molesworth 2019

topiary artists

Balmoral Cottage is the garden of my topiary mentor Charlotte Molesworth. She will be opening her garden in 2019 on the following dates: April 7th May 5th September 22nd September 29th For the NGS Yellow Book. Highly recommend you visit as it is a fantastic garden, grown over 34 years and completely organic. Dates are still to be confirmed for the South East Open Studios. But they will be open sometime in late spring to showcase Charlotte paintings, as well as sculptural work for the garden by other artists local to this part of Kent. The Potting Shed Holiday Let, …

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