THE MODERN MINT BLOG
A few weeks ago Modern Mint took a trip to Goldhanger in Essex, to see Spencer Christie who farms Lauriston Farm.
Lauriston Farm is run biodynamically – which in simple terms (in incredibly simple terms!) means the gardener or farmer takes account of an intricate web of relationships that can influence life on earth and tries to work with or guide it in a beneficial way. Beneficial for the soil, the animals, the plants and ourselves.
We have come across biodynamic growers before, most notably Beatrice Krehl the head gardener at Waltham Place, began to tend the vegetable garden biodynamically for Strilli Oppenheimer and her family.
It is easy to dismiss it as nonsense, or something hippies do… but visiting Lauriston Farm you get the sense of a place that is cared for. The sense of a place that is genuinely loved. If working biodynamically is the stimulus that encourages the gardener to make such beautiful places, then the concept should not be disregarded.
You can book a walk, free of charge, around the farm with Spencer as part of the environmental stewardship agreement. We encourage you to do so, to experience the wonderful views (the farm is right next to the sea) as well as the philosophical views (Spencer is a gentle, engaging storyteller) that the farm can offer.
Or look for Demeter certified food. Try it, and see if you can taste the difference. This may be the future…?
For more on Biodynamic growing, get these books…!
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022