THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar18

Ken Thompson, Botanist

We are big fans of the botanist and author Ken Thompson, who was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.

His books are accessible, fun and full of information. Which makes for pretty good reading. What they do best though, is introduce you to ideas that you will be inspired by and interested in discovering more about. So we share some examples of his words with you, from the books No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening and Do We Need Pandas?: The Uncomfortable Truth About Biodiversity.

“The best single thing you can do for wildlife in your garden is to find a young tree and leave it alone. Failing that, plant one.”

“Long grass is good for wildlife, and in short supply in gardens. If you want to leave some long grass, while at the same time convincing the neighbours that you are not some kind of dope-smoking layabout, by all means introduce wildflowers into the grass and call it a wildflower meadow. Most wildlife, however, will take no notice of the flowers – it’s interested in the undisturbed long grass…”

“Maintaining soil carbon is easy: make as much compost as you can, grow lots of plants and go easy on the digging… in the UK, plants conatin only just over 1 per cent of our total national store of organic carbon – the rest is in the soil.”

“…grow as many different flowering plants as you can, and make sure you cover the whole year, from Mahonia for the queen bumblebee that needs a snack on a warm day in February, to ivy for the butterflies that need one last fill up before the winter.”

“As we become wealthier and eat more meat and processed foods, and acquire more consumer goods, vast quantities of water are needed for their production… every small bag of imported salad from the supermarket exports another 50 litres of drought to the Kenyans who grew it…”

“…the new, fertile landscape created by intensive farming delivers cheap food (for animals and people) in unprecedented quantities… unfortunately that’s all it delivers. The challenge is to devise multifunctional landscapes that also deliver better water quality, less soil erosion, more carbon storage and healthier and happier livestock, and are also less dependent on cheap oil…”

“In evolutionary terms, the Cape’s plants are astonishingly young, which perhaps explains how many of them manage to be so rare – there are only a few hundred individuals of many Proteaceae. Are these future successes at the start of their careers, or failed evolutionary experiments on their way to extinction?”

“Birdlife International reckons that with £19 million over the next five years, they could save from extinction all the world’s 189 critically endangered bird species… I’ve seen such sums described by conservationists as ‘vast’, but it’s hard to see why. For some reason it’s seen as naive to point out that tiny fractions of military budgets could pay for this without anyone really noticing.”

He also writes for the Telegraph, articles like this one on using crocks for drainage in pots… it is a classic example of how he makes you question and think about traditional gardening advice.

On Thursday his new book Where Do Camels Belong?: The story and science of invasive species is out on Amazon. Discounted at the time of writing!

Dec10

What I Love – Other Tools & Garden Bits

seaweed

What I love are great tools and products that have an eco-friendly, sustainable aspect to them. This might be the amazing Hori-Hori (the Japanese version of a garden trowel) a Nunki weeder or even a Tarp Hat for gardening. But what I can’t do is have absolutely everything here online, or in our stock room. Where I live just isn’t big enough. Plus Modern Mint is only me, with occasional help, so I really do have to make sure I am only offering you keen gardeners the very best tools. This way, you are happy and come back and buy more …

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Dec07

Topiary Artist & Pruning UK – Darren Lerigo

Topiary Artist Darren Lerigo

My name is Darren Lerigo and I make and maintain topiary like this here in the UK. Organic shaped hedges and ‘Big Bird’ in the background I work for a range of people across many different gardens, but the majority of my clients are people who: Are keen garden lovers Want something fun or extraordinary in their garden Are keen on design, or are artists and creatives in their own right Understand their current garden and shrubs can be given a makeover and improved Have just had a garden design done and need a professional hand to maintain the new evergreens …

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Dec07

Gardening Talks To Clubs And Societies

My name is Darren Lerigo. I am a gardener and topiary artist and I provide garden talks  for clubs all over the UK. If you are a speaker finder in need of a talk, then please do get in touch. But please note this is a short introduction to my talks. For full information, go to Garden Club Speaker For Your Group. With my talks, I hope to: Provide your group with something interesting, informative and fun. Make your life as easy as possible. I will do this by turning up on time, bringing equipment that works, making sure the …

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