THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun20

Do We Need Pandas? by Ken Thompson

This book – Do We Need Pandas – is one of our favourite Ken Thompson books (the other is No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening).

Do We Need Pandas is witty and light enough in style that the depressing information you are given does not prevent you from reading it… or making notes with a marker pen… or even lifting your head from the pages and telling anyone within earshot, “oh gosh did you know…”

The Joy To Be Found In ‘Do We Need Pandas’

Did you know something like this?

“…only one strategy has any long-term hope of getting every endangered species off the sick list: to conserve the fabric of whole eco-systems, and let the rare species look after themselves.”

Or his completely logical argument to help preserve (currently) untouched wilderness…

“Great works of art should be protected and conserved, and I find it hard to see why wild nature should not be cherished for much the same reasons. No-one argues that we can afford to lose the odd Matisse because there are still some left.”

We have long been fans of Ken Thompson because you always come away from reading him with more knowledge about the world.

He is constantly asking questions and challenging current conventions. This is important! Not every new idea is worthy of spreading through the horticultural world, but there are many outdated practises. So if you want to get your teeth into something new, start with Ken Thompson’s books… they will delight and teach in equal measure!

These are the best 3 to buy!

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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