THE MODERN MINT BLOG
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!
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:
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:
Enjoy your seaside gardening!
Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
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 …