THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Feb22

How To Be An Organic Gardener

How Do I Become An Organic Gardener?

The boy walked up to his mother, who was slicing into the tall compost heap with her spade. Dotted around the sides of the heap were a few daffodils, about to unfold themselves and shine brightly as the heralds of a warming spring.

“Why are you always moving that mud around mummy?” asked the boy.

His mother smiled, wiped a glove across her forehead to remove the sweat.

“It does look a bit like mud, doesn’t it? But can you see how it crumbles when I pick it up? And can you see the worms? Smell it too, go on.”

The boy, encouraged by his mother, took a great sniff.

“It’s gone up my nose!”

“Well it will do if you inhale like that,” she laughed, “wipe your nose… not on your sleeve!”

The boy giggled. His mother laughed too.

“This is called compost. It is made from all the leaves and all the flowers of the plants we had in the garden last year. Did you like the smell?”

The boy nodded, eyes wide.

“This compost is so important to how we look after our garden. It’s as important as gold to an organic gardener like me.”

“An organic gardener?” said the boy, “how do I become an organic gardener?”

The Two Essentials of the Organic Gardener

First of all, being an organic gardener is about what you don’t do.

You Don’t Use Pesticides, Weedkillers or Synthetic Fertilisers

Got it? No more popping to the garden centre, buying some and then thinking these are ok to use. They are not, not even in small amounts… and you will no longer be able to consider yourself an organic gardener.

Now we are clear on what you don’t do, what one action CAN YOU TAKE to become an organic gardener?

Look after your soil.

Your soil and its ability to be easy to handle, hold just enough water and oxygen to grow a range of plants, and also be filled with nutrients is of the utmost importance to strive for as an organic gardener.

How can you make this happen?

Try not to dig or disturb the soil too much, don’t leave it naked to the sun and rain (even if it is covered with weeds, that is better than nothing!) and add as much organic matter to its surface as you can.

This is where the compost heap comes in. By storing all of your organic matter, all your waste and arisings from the garden in one place, you capture all the goodness in one position and get it ready to be re-used.

A compost heap is the beating heart that drives your garden and the health of the plants you grow.

The Organic Gardener

By refraining from using poison in your garden, whilst concentrating on the health of your soil, you will be creating the strongest possible foundation you can for being an organic gardener.

If you add to these endeavours a few more great practises like saving rainwater for re-use on thirsty plants, growing a wide and diverse range of flowers and shrubs, planting trees, fighting the sale of composts with peat in, growing your own vegetables and cut flowers, making a pond and doing all you can to provide habitats and food for wildlife, you will soon be a master organic gardener.

Simple, isn’t it? We hope you will become an organic gardener too…



May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.