THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Earlier in the year we visited Sissinghurst, when they opened for the NGS scheme at 6am on a Sunday morning. It was brilliant to be there so early and we had the chance to talk with new(ish) head gardener Troy Scott Smith about how they are trying to ‘revitalise Vita’.
The garden has changed a lot over the years, which is a good thing, but has lost a little of the ‘fine carelessness’ that drove the making of the garden. It is now the job of Troy and his team to bring a little of that chaos and looseness back to the planting, while also catering for the vast amount of visitors that go each year (around 200,000.)
We went to Sissinghurst for 6am in order to miss those crowds of people – we perhaps overestimated the appeal – not one other person arrived that early in the morning. You missed out. It was beautiful.
Do please visit on Monday 15th September and support the NGS.
Also, if you live in Essex and want to visit a garden, we recommend:
Ulting Wick on the 14th and 19th September.
Furzelea on the 10th September.
Woodpeckers on the 26th & 27th September.
They are, like Sissinghurst, all fantastic gardens.
To find out more about Sissinghurst, Sarah Raven recently released a book which we reviewed here – Vita Sackville-West: Creation of a Garden.
Happy garden visiting!
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 …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …
Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …