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!

Nov13

Learn To Clip Topiary Workshop 2020

topiary artists

I am running a topiary workshop in 2020 with the wonderful topiary artist Charlotte Molesworth at her spectacular topiary garden in Kent. This is a topiary workshop where you will learn to clip, so be prepared to do some cutting. We start with a tour of the garden, which Charlotte and her husband Donald have been cultivating for 34 years. It is organic, full of wildlife and has the most extraordinary pruned shapes made from yew and boxwood. You can see more photos of the garden in an article in the Guardian here: Topiary Garden In Kent What Else Will …

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Oct09

Hardy Plant Society Middlesex Talk Notes

On Monday night I gave a talk to the Hardy Plant Society Middlesex. Below are a few links for further information based on some of the ideas discussed in the talk: Real Seeds – a fantastic supplier of fruit and vegetable seeds for growers. Boxwood Caterpillar Advice – from the European Boxwood & Topiary Society. I will also write a little companion piece this winter with more information and some topiary techniques, so watch out for that on this website. Boxwood Lure & Nematodes – my preferred option for dealing with the caterpillar. Discount code for 10% off is EBTSBOX29GBZ …

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