THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jan28

Microbz – Essential Health For You & Your Garden

Microbz is a brand we have been using in the garden for a couple of years now. It is a product made by a company who send a bottle of beneficial microbes, that you mix with water and this addition of ‘life’ helps your soil to improve.

(Note – at Microbz there is currently a sale on here. Worth a first try at this price, so you can see the difference for yourself!)

Have You Heard About Beneficial Microbes?

You may have heard of the health benefits of beneficial microbes for your guts (what a word that is) but these microbes are also necessary in the garden.

Microbes are tiny organisms that the naked eye can’t see. The word itself can cover lots of life forms, like bacteria and fungi, but essentially our bodies contain these invisible organisms that help us to live. Our bodies have about ten times more microbes than actual cells.

Microbes help us to battle disease, break down organic waste and, when they are strong, healthy and prolific in our bodies, keep us energised and happy (well, happier…?)

You will also have them in your garden, even more so if you are a compost maker and generous in spreading it around, as compost is full of ‘life’. The more ‘life’ you have in your soil the more you will help the microbes to proliferate.

Other than not using compost, one sure fire way to destroy the microbes that exist in your garden is to use chemicals. Chemical conditions set out to destroy this useful life!

By having a chemical free garden you can get the microbes in your space to flourish, but also adding some of the products made my Microbz will aid your soil – making it healthy, aiding sustainable growth of your plants and strengthening their immune system against pests and diseases.

We have used the following beneficial microbes in our garden:

My most used – the Microbz soil improver.

The Compost Activator.

Foliage Feed – here.

Why Did I Start Using Microbz?

As many of you know, I work for the brilliant Charlotte Molesworth in her topiary garden. She is my mentor, a brilliant one, who has been clipping topiary plants for decades. She has vast amounts of boxwood in her garden and was worried about rust, as well as blight (of course.)

topiary art

So she began researching beneficial microbes and the affect they had on plant health, as she wished to do all she could to make sure her mature garden was not swept away one year by disease. She went to nursery women and men in Belgium and the Netherlands to ask how they cope with having so much boxwood.

The story that kept coming back?

Good working practise – which means using sharp tools and cleaning them between between plants, so that disease has less chance of being spread.

The use of beneficial microbes, either sprayed onto the plant or added to the soil.

Accepted practise is to keep spraying with chemicals, so that disease is kept at bay. But the ideas Charlotte came across meant a slightly different way of looking at the garden – prevention, rather than hiding the problem, and using the medium the plants grew in to make sure they could combat any problems.

We are massive fans of improving our soils. It is the most important thing you can do – not just for your plant health, but for capturing carbon and reducing your carbon footprint too.

What Microbz To Try?

All of them. They add life to your garden, prevent disease and improve your soil. At Charlotte’s we spray a few times a year with beneficial microbes. It has been time well spent as the hedges and garden look so healthy and problems with rust on the boxwood have diminished.

Try the feed for foliage here.

My absolute favourite, the Microbz soil improver.

And the one that should be at the heart of your garden, the Compost Activator.

As a little side note of interest, we also tried a slightly different spray – by mixing in cinnamon with the beneficial microbes. Cinnamon trees grow in the rainforest and have evolved ways of defending itself from explosions of bad pathogens in these ideal conditions (warm and wet). Using its strength with your microbes makes it ideal in helping to prevent disease and grow healthier plants (chamomile can do the same, which you will find in the solution brewed by Microbz.)

When spraying our cinnamon and microbe mix the garden smelled amazing too. Much better than undiluted comfrey!

So if we could suggest one thing you can do this year to improve your garden, it would be make and use compost.

Next?

Go ahead and try these Microbz now and make sure your garden and soil are brimming with life!

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

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. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

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.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

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 …

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