THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug23

(Fifty) Shades of Green

Shades of Green is a book by Paul Waddington, giving you some common sense advice on how to live more sustainably.

It is well put together and gently teaches you how broad the spectrum of green living is. From starting the book with ‘don’t fly’ (brave way to split your readers on page one!) to sharing ways on how to live without a fridge (how did people stop their food spoiling before refrigeration?) we list below some of the ideas, both dark green and lighter green, we liked the most from his book. Do check it out – Shades Of Green: A (mostly) practical A-Z for the reluctant environmentalist – it’s a good one for starting you thinking…

Shades of Green

No flying.

Homegrown food and flowers (including raw milk, no meat (or at least have rare breed if you do), local, artisan bread, cheese, fairtrade, organic dark chocolate, eggs from your own chickens and ale hand pulled from a cask… to be honest, when food is spoken about in such gloriously delicious terms, you wonder why we accept anything less from the supermarkets?)

No babies.

Shorter showers, smaller bath (apparently there are baths shaped like a peanut that should force you to use less water…)

Second hand bikes.

Darker clothes as whites require more energy to get them crisp and white. Probably best to go for wool, cotton, silk… animal? Handwash them.

No cod. Wild fish, sustainably caught.

Shade grown organic coffee. Or you could try dandelion root…

Induction hob instead of an electric oven.

Laptop? Or just go without completely?

Generate your own electricity.

No fridge – a zeer pot, pantry, larder or root cellar.

Use a wood-framed conservatory leaning against your house – better than a polytunnel!

Look again at your furniture and your homes. Is there some retro-fitting you can do? Can you use or buy less?

Let your lawns become meadows.

Use LED lights. We hear THIS IS THE FUTURE from people in the know. So check them out…

Have a wind up radio.

Then came more food ideas (it is amazing just how far wrong our diets have gone…) like using extra virgin olive oil, organic sunflower oil, organic dried pasta, home-grown strawberries and tomatoes (ripened by the sun…) use local staple foods (so for us in the UK – wheat? oats? barley?) honey instead of sugar and, if you must have sugar, make it organic, dark, unrefined sugar… and of course you should drink a cup of loose leaf tea.

Don’t keep cats and dogs – if you want pets, try bees and carp.

If you go on holiday – backpack or camp.

Put a pond in the garden.

Make your shoes of leather. Or hemp, with a rubber soul from a recycled car tyre.

No TV. You have a laptop anyway, right?

Soap. Washing powder. Jewellery. Make-up. Think about all of these now…

Telephone – we would love to be without one.

Target your water use – do you harvest rainwater? Flush too often? Could you have a compost toilet?

Take the train, or go sailing.

Use a triple AAA rated dishwasher – apparently it really is better than washing up by hand!

Make your own wine, or drink locally made.

The two items Paul Waddington talks about in Shades of Green that seem to be the biggest places we can cut back on our energy use are cars and houses. Financially, these are also the items that cost us the most.

Perhaps it is time we started sharing them?

To see what else he has written, click this link – Books by Paul Waddington – there are a few more than interesting titles for you there.

Last of all then – what shade of green are you?

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

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. …

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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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