THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul29

Organic Bulbs – A Simple Way To Help The Honeybee

This is the third year we have been selling Organic Bulbs here at Modern Mint.

Recurvus

 

We have always been a fan of using daffodils, tulips and crocus to provide colour to the garden early in the year, but it was only upon reading research done by the ‘Earth Friendly Gardener’ John Walker that we realised we may have been causing problems.

Organic Bulbs Are Better For Bees

It turns out that bulbs grown with chemicals can store the poison in the heart of the bulb. When the variety you have chosen pushes its stem up through the cold, spring earth and gets its head into the sun, it will flower.

But as the sap rises through the stem, with it comes the toxins, so that for every bee and every insect that visits the flower looking for pollen and nectar, they also get a little dose of poison. This is disorientating and, if they visit enough flowers, incredibly harmful.

Now bees are damn fine workers, so they will be visiting a lot of flowers. That is a lot of insecticide they will be getting hit with.

Organic bulbs are grown without chemicals, on chemical free land reclaimed from the sea in the Netherlands. They provide a flower for the bee and other pollinators to visit, they offer nectar and early season pollen, but they don’t poison anything.

This makes organic bulbs bee safe bulbs. The kind of plants you want in your garden.

Planting Organic, Bee Friendly Bulbs

We have a few recommendations for planting organic bulbs, to make your life as simple as possible:

  • Whatever number you think you need, add a ‘0’ to the end of it. So if you think 10 bulbs is enough for your garden, plant 100. It will make a fantastic display in the spring and your heart will be warmed….
  • Plant fewer varieties, to bring a consistency to your planting. Small, scented flowers near the house in pots gives you the chance to appreciate them, wilder, tougher varieties can be naturalised in grass.
  • As a general rule, the depth you plant it will be to twice the height of the bulb.
  • Daffodils go in the ground as early as possible in the Autumn (say, September) while tulips go in during the colder month of November.

Dan Pearson On Planting Bulbs

“Bulbs provide a guaranteed flash of drama to herald the passing of one season into the next….”

That should of course read “Organic bulbs provide a flash of drama….”

Buy Organic, Bee Friendly Bulbs

We have a few varieties in sock this year, including, for the first ever time, Crocus. Plant crocus to provide much needed pollen for the bees early in the year.

Shop for organic bulbs now.

Or read this if you need more information on Organic Bulbs.

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

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Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

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Sep27

Book Yourself A Topiary Workshop 2022

organic topiary snow

Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022