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…!
Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …