THE MODERN MINT BLOG
For the Chelsea Fringe 2016 Modern Mint are asking you a simple question:
What is your Desert Island Plant?
We know, we know – it is a tough question to answer! Out of all the plants out there, all the wonderful flowers you could choose – which could you not live without?
We thought long and hard about our choice. A few of the also-rans were:
Wild primrose. The ‘first rose’ of the year, a simple flower with a beautiful soft colour. Looks as great en-masse as it does when you peer closely at just a single specimen. Love it!
Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. Got to know this well when we grew cut flowers for florists, it look like a giant apple blossom and makes an incredible display in the garden or in the vase. The fragrance is to die for too.
Stipa gigantea. Anything with ‘gigantic’ in its name is going to be exciting, and this plant offers the most wonderful flower heads on long thin stems. Easy to grow, it can stand above shorter flowers in a border but never crowd them out or steal all the light. Reflects the sunshine from its beautiful flower.
But the plant we have chosen, as our desert island plant, has got to be….
Buxus sempervirens. Green, used in just about every garden, it is our desert island plant because of the way it can be clipped. Grabbing a pair of shears and spending time cutting buxus into formal, tight shapes is a lovely way to spend a morning.
Even better is to cut it into something a little less formal!
It took a lot of thinking about, but there you have it – our Desert Island Plant would be the beautiful and useful Buxus sempervirens. But we are interested in you –
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 …
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 …
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