THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Nov04

Plants for Seaside Gardens

Seaside gardens are fascinating and here at Modern Mint Garden Design we cannot wait for our first commission to work on a garden by the sea.

In preparation for that moment we are trying to learn all we can about the plants that can cope with living by the seaside. Below is a document Plantlife have put together that gives great information and pictures on seaside wildflowers – easy to print off and take with you while walking along the coast too!

seaside plants

We recently visited the West coast of Ireland to take a look at the landscape there – we saw sea holly growing wild on the most beautiful (and deserted) sandy beaches. We got soaked by rain that would lash down for ten minutes and then be gone, saw vivid rainbows that appeared so solid you could reach out and touch them, felt the wind barging past us like a handbag thief running away from a victim. It was a beautiful landscape – probably the highlight was getting up early one morning, in darkness, and going outside to meet the sunrise… and seeing a man run his two wolfhounds across a mist-veiled field. An image that will live a long time in the memory.

Another good resource for seaside gardening is this video – not so much for information but for inspiration – about the seaside garden of the Chilean garden designer Juan Grimm.

“There are certainly no showy displays of flowers, and no neatly defined borders, just an infinitely sophisticated use of local plants…”

Watch from 50 minutes onwards, and note how the plants suit the sunshine and the sea.

The quote we like best from this short part of the video is when Juan Grimm says…

“The landscape says to you what you have to do.”

It is an antithesis to ‘Capability’ Brown, or those who deem weedkillers to be an essential part of the armoury for controlling nature – instead you are teasing out what the site tells you to do, what it wants to be. It is also a remarkably fashionable concept in contemporary garden design. How long this lasts before fashions change and we come back full circle again…

Last of all our favourite books about gardens near the ocean are these – the classic by Derek Jarman:

Derek Jarman’s Garden

and this less well known by equally satifying book by Barbara Segall (satisfying because the pictures are beautiful, it discusses and shares gardens from all over the world, and it contains a useful plant appendix with growing notes for plants that can cope with salt and high winds…) – a fantastic read:

Gardens by the Sea

Enjoy your seaside gardening!

Feb22

Guanock House – Trainee Topiary Artist Needed

guanock 1

Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …

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Feb09

Topiary In The Snow

Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture)  helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.

Feb05

New Talk: How To Use Topiary In The Garden

topiary cold

How To Use Topiary In The Garden is my new talk, which I first gave last year via Zoom for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society. Returning to Zoom again, there are two dates available to see and hear the talk: March 16th – Book your ticket here April 6th – Book your ticket here The talk is great fun, perfect for keen gardeners or people who want to know how to improve their garden with hedges and architectural plants. How To Use Topiary In The Garden looks at how to move away from the idea topiary is twee or old-fashioned, …

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