THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun30

Seeing A Talk By Garden Writer Val Bourne

Previously on Modern Mint….

We shared this piece by Val Bourne – 5 Golden Rules of Planting

Last week we were speaking at the Blenheim Palace Flower Show, when lo and behold Val Bourne herself came on to talk after us. We have always been a fan of her writing and books, all steeped in gardening experience, so we took this opportunity to sit down,listen to her speak and make some notes.

She spoke about vegetable gardening, and these notes are below – handy for us here at Modern Mint to remember what she said – but you may have to make of them what you will!

Notes from A Talk by Val Bourne

Important for vegetable growing? Soil. Timing. And EXPERIENCE.

Don’t give nitrogen to legumes.

Ask – is the plant shallow-rooted? Or tap-rooted? That will tell you a lot. As does the question – how and where does it grow in the wild?

Shallots – from the word Echelon in Palestine. Traditionally, you plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest.

When you plant peas, plant 4 for everyone one you want – one seed to rot, one to grow, one for the mouse and one for the crow.

Sow every fortnight from March to July, in a little shade.

When potatoes were introduced, they were planted on Good Friday, as in the 16th century people believed the potato to be the devils food. Holy water was used and prayers said for protection. Nowadays, eat organic potatoes as they are likely to have been sprayed with a fungicide 16 times….

Tap rooted vegetables? Evolved in dry places, use less manure and grow in lighter soils.

Tozer seeds are good. (We like Real Seeds.)

Vegetable growing can be all about feast or famine. That is why you need EXPERIENCE.

Prefers winter vegetables for that reason – long season of harvest.

Purple carrots taste better grown in warmer temperatures, like Turkey where it is thought they come from.

Stressed food tastes unpleasant, because the crop tries to make itself uneatable to pests.

AGM varieties are a good place to start – they have been thoroughly tested by experts.

Winter squash is a good harvest and good for eating.

Tuscan kale is another brilliant winter vegetable.

‘Puddling in’ is an ancient technique you use for leeks and brassicas.


So there you go! Our notes from a talk by garden writer and organic vegetable grower Val Bourne.

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.