We at Modern Mint had a lesson in scything the other day when visiting Waltham Place.

Here are 9 things we learnt…

1) It is normal to scythe without your shoes on (it is near impossible to cut your own foot, though very easy to cut your hand when cleaning or sharpening the blade…!)

2) English scythes have curves, Austrian scythes less so, and Eastern European scythes are straight. There are also lightweight scythes from the USA made of aluminium. These seemed to divide opinion between love and hate.

3) You know you are scything well when you hear a swuuushh… swuuushh… swuuushh… it is the most beautiful sound. Not that we heard it much when we were scything…

4) Scything is on the increase, with the factory in Austria that makes them struggling to keep up with demand.

5) You should not walk on the meadow before it has been cut – the scythe is used to create a pathway into the field for you to walk on. In Austria a hay field is treated with great reverence – it is said that if the crown jewels were placed in the middle of a hay field, an Austrian would not take them because they would not step onto the uncut meadow.

Of course, if they are that keen on scything, they may cut themselves a path towards it…

5) It is 70% technique and 30% grunt.

6) A great resource for purchasing scythes is here at The Scythe Shop. And you can learn a lot about scything by going here to the website of the Scythe Association.

7) The people who we met on the scything course were people who normally use strimmers and are getting sick of them. They mush up all the grass, are heavy on the arms and back, cost money to buy and the cord takes time from your day when you have to stop and fiddle about replacing it.

8) A good scyther can mow an acre of field a day. That includes clearing it up to!

9) It is better to cut grass when it is wet – so work can start earlier in the morning than with a mower, and because it is quiet can be done later at night.

How do we think Scything make be of use?

Savings on fuel and benefits to health are the obvious ones, but we think the most important reason to embrace scything is that it is easier to store the equipment. A small London garden may have a lawn, in which case it will also need a mower and a shed to keep that mower in.

Whereas a scythe can be placed on the wall (as we wrote about in My Garden) or even kept inside. It becomes an ornamental feature, as well as a useful one. Our favourite kind of product.

We are thinking about offering a scything service for the small lawns of London – does anyone think they would be interested? Email us or tweet to let us know your thoughts about scything!


Save Ryton Organic Gardens!

There seems to be some underhand shenanigans going on here. Bob Flowerdew is threatening to resign. We face losing the UK’s cornerstone organic garden. So please take a look at what is going on via the Facebook group…. go on! Go Now! Save Ryton Organic Gardens!


Garden Design Trends 2018

shed garden trend

Today we will be looking at Garden Design Trends in 2018. Just so you are in the know about what is cool and what is not cool in the 12 months ahead…. For the past like, million years I have shared my thoughts on what the gardening industry tell us the latest trends are going to be. If you are interested, you can see here the garden design trends for 2017. Or take a peek at my favourite of all the posts I have written – Alternative Garden Design Trends. This is my individual take on what the latest garden design …



Northern Forest – UK Plans For 50 Million New Trees

Well now, this is interesting…. UK Plans 50 Million New Trees in Northern Forest Likely? See the pitfalls? We love the idea and wholeheartedly support as much tree planting as possible. But are seriously doubtful that this is more than a sticking plaster solution to England being so vastly ‘under-treed’…. or should that be ‘overfelled?’ Yet whether this idea happens or not, all we ask is that you please make sure you plant as many trees as you can in your garden!