Taking Cuttings – Marina Christopher

If you want more of a particular plant then a cheap way to get them is by taking cuttings.

And the best way for us to show you is by offering you this short video nurserywoman Marina Christopher made.

The video is fun – we have always loved watching nurserywomen and men performing their craft, seeing these well-honed movements and agile fingers practising what they have done in all likelihood thousands of times. The dexterity is amazing, the confidence with which they manipulate the plant material showing just how close a relationship they have with plants.

Marina runs Phoenix Perennial Plants in Alton, Hampshire, and her special interest is in growing plants that are beneficial to pollinators (not just bees…) You can email her for a catalogue using this address: or phoning on 01420 560695

You should also be able to find more information about talks and workshops she is giving by visiting the Alitex website, for whom she writes an interesting if sporadic blog. (If you wonder why it might be sporadic, we imagine it is due to the travails of being a nurserywoman – the plants don’t grow themselves, after all – and she doesn’t just grow for you, she also provides designers with plants at the Chelsea Flower Show too!)

If you are reading about a plant and the writer mentions they got it from Phoenix Perennial, or it was recommended to them by Marina Christopher, you would be wise to try out the plant – many in the industry consider her a great judge of a worthy garden plant.

“Plant breeding to produce larger, often sterile blooms and double flowers usually reduces pollen and nectar production. The naturalistic movement tends towards plants that still have most of the characters of wild species and are buzzing with pollinating insects and other beneficials.”

One of her favourtie plants is Sanguisorba. She talks about them in her exceptionally useful book ‘Late Summer Flowers’ and also in this interview at the Telegraph… in the interview, she hopes that a long flowering Korean species she herself discovered will become popular. Sanguisorba really isn’t used enough in gardens (though Dan Pearson mentioned them in his must-have perennials) – but here is, according to Marina, why they should be more popular –

“They’re easy to grow, don’t need staking and they attract bees, flies and butterflies.”

Simple explanation – but why make gardening harder than it needs to be?

She also provides advice on slug control…

“Ornamental grasses… play an important role in the health of our gardens. Violet ground beetles, which are voracious predators of slugs and caterpillars reside in mounds of grass and are nocturnal feeders. Ornamental grass clumps are ideal for housing these useful beetles.”

We will now be planting Deschampsia cespitosa next to hostas in our garden designs.

Here are twelve more plants she suggests for attracting pollinators, from an article in Gardens Illustrated:

Agastache ‘Blackadder’

Aster ‘Little Carlow’

Cenolophium denudatum

Centaurea ‘Phoenix Bronze’

Centranthus lecoqii

Echium vulgare

Eryngium bourgatii

Ligusticum lucidum

Linaria purpurea

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Trifolium rubens ‘Peach Pink’

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Lavendelturm’

(Some of these plants can be found in the seedball mixtures on the Modern Mint Shop – do check them out!)

To buy Marina’s book Late Summer Flowers just click on the picture below, which will take you to Amazon – where you should be able to pick it up at a discount!






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!