THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May29

Roses

Madame Alfred Carriere
Madame Alfred Carriere

Most garden designers have a palette of plants they trust, know and use. This repetition gives a certain style to their work and helps them build a consistent client base, although a planting style can change rapidly and distinctly.

Tom Stuart-Smith wrote, “Initially we went through quite a fluffy pink rose stage, clipped box, cranesbills and great swags of blousy pink Ispahan and purplish crimson Charles de Mill… this initial blousy pinkness overlapped with something of orange Kniphofia moment (which now seems a little improbable) then followed by a more wild Verbascum and opium poppy explosion in the early 90’s and an increasingly grassy evolution over the last ten years… I have gradually excluded the flagrantly exotic and cultivated. There is now not a single Kniphofia in the garden or an old fashioned rose or a delphinium.”

One of the most important portfolios to have is of roses, a plant 99% of clients ask for in a garden and 99% of clients will have a favourite of. So we feel it is time to update our portfolio.

First stop will be Cants of Colchester to have a look what they have growing in their fields.

Second, we will be asking what other people like. Speaking to Troy Scott Smith (Head Gardener at Sissinghurst) he pointed out to us that Rosa rugosa ‘Blanche double de Coubert’ was the favourite rose of Vita Sackville-West. (That’s good to know, because it already sits in our portfolio!)

If you have a favourite rose, do get in touch with us via Twitter or by email.

Here are a few roses from our current portfolio…

Ferdinand Pichard

Graham Thomas

Winchester Cathedral

Darcey Bussell

Madame Hardy

… oh, how we are excited to be reappraising this lovely group of plants!

For further rose related reading, try:

The Rose

The English Roses

Alan Titchmarsh How to Garden: Growing Roses

Or for the book by Tom Stuart-Smith quoted above…

The Barn Garden: Making a Place

May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

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.

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 …

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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 …

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