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!
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …