THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Feb18

Lent for the Gardener

Lent, a Christian religious observance that runs from Ash Wednesday through to Easter Sunday, is a special season for the gardener to – after all, the winter is fighting the onset of spring, the ground is beginning to warm and the daffodils are taking over from the snowdrops to provide a bright fizz of sunshine across the landscape.

But the idea behind Lent is important as well.

For Christians, Lent is a time to deny something from their normal lives. This is used as a way to prepare for Easter, but also gives space to the observer to consider the way they live.

This is the part that really interests us, as a gardener.

Winter is like Lent

The winter is almost a Lenten season for the gardener – the weather stops us getting outside and growing our vegetables and flowers, or trimming our shrubs, or cutting our grass. It is a period of dormancy, of rest, and we find ourselves battening down the hatches of our homes and getting a gardening fix from books and nursery catalogues – the practical nature of gardening is turned theoretical, and the fantasies of what we can grow when spring arrives normally gets us so excited we order vast quantities of new flower seed we will never have the space or time to grow.

(Hurrah to that little ritual, that every gardener knows!)

This space in our lives, this Lenten season, allows us to grow as  gardener. It allows us to question and discover the garden we want to have, where we have gone wrong previously and the projects we want to make happen in the coming year.

We love the winter for this and have been busily allowing our thoughts on gardening to run wild. Have you?

With A Little Space…

In previous years we have decided the following about our garden practises:

  1. We will stop working for clients who insist the only way to garden is with herbicides.
  2. We will try our hand at topiary.
  3. We will grow cut flowers for florists (and how we miss that now we no longer do it!)
  4. We will learn to use a scythe, then start a London-based eco-friendly lawn cutting service where staff dressed in black cowls take their scythes to different small gardens in the city to cut the grass. Staff will take the Tube to get to each garden, so making the world a more wonderful and weird place by populating the Underground with folk dressed as the Grim Reaper carrying his work tools. We loved the idea…
  5. We will look more deeply into stock-free gardening (that is where you use green manures, not animal products to build soil fertility…)

As you can see, sometimes the Lent season for the gardener gives you the space to come up with a good idea… and sometimes a crazy one too!

Lent, for You

We hope Lent – whether the Christian period or the ‘Gardening Lent of Winter’ we have spoken about today – will encourage you to take part in this practise, to give yourself a little space and think about how you can become a better gardener.

Here’s to Lent!

 

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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