THE MODERN MINT BLOG
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!
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. …
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.
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 …