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…!
When do you prune? Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits …
Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …
This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies? I did a similar meet-up with garden designers in spring 2021. Here is where you can read the Topiary Provocation Spring …