THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar24

The Alternative to Mowing

Over the weekend we saw an advert for Artificial Lawn that claimed it was the ‘only alternative to mowing!’

Let us be serious – that is no more than marketing hype, and a lie.

The first alternative to mowing that springs to our mind is… don’t mow. Really, keep it that simple, and don’t mow. Let the grass grow longer, flower and set seed… and see how the garden looks.

You might be surprised by what grows when a lawnmower is not cutting the heads off a plant every week through the growing season – orchids have even been known to make an appearance – and all that spare time you now have because you are not mowing for hours on end every weekend will mean you can study what these plants, now allowed to perform, actually are.

What happens though, when it gets to the end of summer, and you want to tidy up? It’s not a difficult question to answer, though we find it often falls on deaf ears because the answer is not what people want to hear. We suggest hiring a scythe mower for the day, to get all the work done at once. This solution is shrugged off as too much hard work (the people doing the shrugging conveniently forgetting the work saved over the previous 6 months.)

What about hiring someone with a strimmer? No.

Facetiously, we then suggest bringing in sheep. This answer also gets shrugged off (and it probably deserves it too – although we’d love to see a sheperd bringing his flock into the back garden for a few days – the neighbours perhaps wouldn’t.)

You could always dig up and start your lawn again, this time sowing a grass seed that either grows slowly or doesn’t get very tall.

Or better still, make the lawn area into a pond – there will be a huge increase in wildlife in your garden and it will also give you the same calming view to look out on as a lawn provides.

It takes a brave person to give up their lawn. But doing so really will give you more time to do something more interesting than mow. And if you hear someone say there is no alternative to a lawn, or that artificial lawn is the only alternative to grass – send them to us – we don’t mind telling them straight.

(Yep, someone really wrote this book…)

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

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Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

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Sep27

Book Yourself A Topiary Workshop 2022

organic topiary snow

Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022