THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul29

Scything

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!


Jun28

Make Your Own Microbes

We are fans of effective microbes, and use the in our topiary work. They help keep plants healthy, meaning the plants have more tools in their toolbox and energy in their lives to stave off any diseases. Here is a lovely article that tells you how to make your own microbes. Right at the end. Make Your Own Microbes

Jun15

Boxwood – Dealing With Blight & The Caterpillar

Boxwood is one of our absolute favourite plants. The evergreen leaf that shines in winter, the smell as you clip it, the brilliant shapes you can make from it… but it is suffering somewhat from two major problems: Box Blight Boxwood Caterpillar and Moth None of this is the be all and end all for boxwood, but it helps to be aware of it and know a little about what you can do should either of these problems arise. Boxwood Caterpillar & Moth I hadn’t seen this in a garden I worked on until this spring, when a client I …

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Jun06

Orchard Design At Brogdale, National Fruit Collection In Kent

Last weekend I visited the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, to take part in an orchard design course they were running. Beautiful place and a warm day, I recommend a visit. I came home with 3 bottles of cider. Drank them all. Then realised they were weighing in at 8%. I don’t recover that quickly (no longer being 20 years old) and so had something of a musty head the next morning. The power of apples I say! Below are some notes I made from the day. They may be of use to you, although really they are there for …

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