THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Sarah Raven is a garden writer and teacher, probably best known for the cut flower courses she runs in Kent… at least, that is where we first heard of her.
Having always had an interest in cut flowers, we began a sideline business growing seasonal flowers for florists when we were based in Hampshire. Our first port of call was to visit Sarah Raven on one of her cut flower growing courses and get her book The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Garden Flowers for advice.
We were also given her beautiful cookbook as a present one Christmas. It, along with a book by Skye Gyngell (A Year in my Kitchen) have stayed on the shelf in the kitchen for easy reference when a tasty meal of fresh produce is needed.
Sarah’s cookbook is a beautiful treat to sit down with in winter, each vegetable being given a chapter depending on when it is in season. This also makes it an excellent beginners guide as well for those who want to learn how to prepare food they may never have come across before. This is probably the key to Sarah’s work – that she is a teacher, a go-to if you have a question, because everything is shared.
We are cooking from her book tonight – currently in the oven is baked aubergine with mozzarella – an autumn evening warmer and needed after gardening in the cold today!
Another favourite recipe? Celeriac and apple soup. Really. It’s a winter stunner.
Sarah Raven has also written about Sissinghurst. Earlier this year we visited Sissinghurst on a cold spring morning. You can read about that trip (we arrived at 6am for a wander around the white garden!) and see some pictures on this blog post – NGS Sissinghurst.
You will find mention of Sarah all through blog posts on our website – she has given us a model to base the Modern Mint blog on – one of sharing information and encouraging others to give gardening a go, whether they are growing cut flowers, harvesting fruit, sowing vegetables or preparing a meadow. We want Modern Mint to be this kind of gardening resource, to be a check-in point for you to get the confidence and courage to go outside and start (or build on) your relationship with your garden.
So do check out her website for great planting ideas – there is always a deal to be found and plenty of advice too – highly recommended! And if you want to know something about cut flowers… Sarah Raven is a good place to start.
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 …
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.
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, …