THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Apr20

Top Garden Tip For Spring: Keep On Top!

People ask us what is our number one top tip for working in the garden in spring. It is not a simple answer, because there is always so much to do (the sap is rising) but we live by one tenet at this time of year…

KEEP ON TOP!

The ground elder, the nettles, the chickweed, the dandelions (all of these plants are edible by the way) – they seem to be flying through the borders right now, mixing themselves amongst the plants you want and making it more and more difficult to get in amongst it all and clear them out. A few brambles may be lurking too, peering around like meerkats on the savannah, choosing which way to grow up up up and then flop over, crushing your lovely delphiniums and iris.

It seems nigh on impossible to find the time to get through the borders – after all, every chance you have to get out in the garden is taken up with bad weather… or too good weather (meaning you have to spend extra time helping your seedlings with a bit of water) or it is a bank holiday and someone has invited you over for a long and leisurely lunch…

It is easy to be overwhelmed by gardening in the springtime.

But our top tip again comes to the fore, becomes a mantra, a silent prayer… keep on top!

Get out there through hell and high water. Get out there and get stuck in. Get out there and… don’t worry about being thorough. If you miss the odd weed that is hiding amongst the forget-me-nots then consider it a tragic irony, enjoy it for what it is, and know you need to do the important part now of getting the bulk done in order to have time later in the year to do it properly. Because you will get that time, when the first rush of growth has slowed down in a month or two, and all that flush of foliage becomes a concentration on flower instead.

It makes it sound easy, doesn’t it? Telling people not to worry about being thorough, just get it done. It is not easy though (and you know this!) Because you mustn’t be careless. You mustn’t rush, and crush the plants you do want to keep, or remove seedlings before you know what glorious flower they might become. Please bear that in mind, when you repeat to yourself ‘keep on top’.

That is our top tip then, for the work you do in your garden in spring – don’t shy away from it now, don’t be nonchalant or inattentive, because a hard, intense session of gardening now will reap rewards for you later on.

So keep on top!

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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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 …

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