THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May23

Our Desert Island Plant

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?

See what other people have chosen.

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.

Tell Us Your Desert Island Plant!

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.

Box 4

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 –

What Is Your Desert Island Plant?

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 …

READ MORE

Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

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 …

READ MORE

Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

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 …

READ MORE