THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar06

Harlow Beekeepers

Last Thursday night I was invited to give a talk ‘Planting for Pollinators’ at Harlow Bees, a beekeeping group who help promote the craft of keeping bees in Harlow.

It was an interesting evening exploring how two complementary crafts – beekeeping and gardening – co-exist in there similar aims of helping bees (and other pollinators.)

Below are some notes answering questions the group asked me from the talk:

1. The Best Plants For Bees

  • helenium
  • sedum
  • oregano
  • borage
  • veronicastrum
  • teucrium
  • calamint
  • eupatorium
  • centaurea
  • lavender

This research comes from the work done by Rosi Rollings at Rosybee. She has been asking the question ‘which bee-friendly plants attract the most bees?’

You can read why and how she set-up this work in this interview we made with her a few years ago.

2. This is what Helenium, the most valuable plant for bees, looks like…

helenium best plant for bees

It is easy to grow, makes a great cut flower and is beautiful too. Get it into your gardens!

3. Remember the following when choosing flowers for the garden…

Right plant, right place – a happy, healthy plant growing in conditions it enjoys will provide preferred forage for the bees.

Plant in blocks of flowers, so that bees don’t waste energy trying to find another nectar/pollen source.

Get some blossoming trees into your gardener early in the year.

Topiary is easier to look after – a plant like Escallonia is great for clipping but also a bee magnet, so can be left uncut (and so full of flowers) until it grows too large for your garden… then you can easily reduce it down to size and let it start growing again, year on year.

escallonia for bees
Escallonia, a bee magnet

4. Using Pesticides, Herbicides or Insecticides will harm your bees

If your garden flowers are suffering from pest damage, plant trees. These will provide somewhere for birds to visit, who in turn will deal with the bug problem.

No flower is too important or special it needs to be sprayed with a poison to make it look better. Plus, the best flowers for bees normally don’t show the art of the plant breeder – note the Helenium above!

5. Plant organic bulbs

You can read all about that in this blog Organic Bulbs.

Or via John Walker, the Earth Friendly Gardener, in the Telegraph.

We will make an order for Bee Friendly Bulbs in the summer, so will let you know then if you want to buy some!


If you live in and around Harlow and want to know more about bees and beekeeping – why not get in touch with the group?

Dec13

Hiut Denim Jeans – As Good As Our Garden Tools

Lovely to see one of our favourite companies trending on the BBC today…. Hiut Denim Jeans. Not only do they make brilliant jeans, but they have been a massive inspiration to us. Their philosophy, to make the best jeans they can, not the most jeans they can, reminds us all the time that at Modern Mint, it is okay not to sell the same tools and products as the garden centres. Because we don’t like those tools. We like these tools…. These tools are the ones that will last you, that are sharp and strong yet light, and will be …

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Dec12

Garden Museum Topiary Visit To Kent

Next year the Garden Museum will be running a brilliant day out visiting traditional and contemporary topiary gardens in Kent and Sussex. Full details can be found here, for what promises to be a fantastic time seeing gardens! First stop on the trip will be to meet us and Charlotte Molesworth, in her garden, where will be demonstrating some topiary techniques and offering some of the best tools available for sale. Charlotte’s garden is an extraordinary place for wildlife, so this is not to be missed! Lunch will then be taken at the Walled Garden, where you will be able …

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Dec12

Topiary Work In Country Living Magazine

  This is the garden of our friend and topiary mentor Charlotte Moelsworth. To read more about it you can buy a copy of Country Living Magazine (December 2017 edition) and see the amazing photographs of the garden on an icy, cold morning. The shapes are truly stunning! Or you can check out more about Charlotte Molesworth here. If you do get to see the Country Living Magazine, and it inspires you to have yourself a little topiary in the garden – contact us to arrange a visit. Or buy some shears (the same shears both I and Charlotte use) and …

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