THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Apr25

Ulting Wick Garden, Essex, NGS

The National Gardens Scheme is well underway for 2014. Yesterday we saw the garden at Ulting Wick in Essex, owned by Phillipa Burrough and run by herself and full-time gardener Neil.

Old Farmyard Garden

This garden has been featured in Gardens Illustrated, and is renowned locally for the exuberant display of tulips in the spring. It was a real pleasure to walk around and superbly cared for – Phillipa herself was a pocket rocket dashing around with the lawnmower preparing for the big open day on Sunday 27th April. If you are free, do head to this part of Essex and take your time walking around.

We hope it inspires you to be bold with your choice of colour and style of plants!

This year the tulips in the Old Farmyard Garden have been replaced by a new planting scheme, due to a virus in the soil. It has an experimental look, and a competely different atmosphere to when it was packed with tulips, the bright stars of spring. To recreate that ‘wow’ factor in April, without using the variety of colour tulips bring you, is difficult. If you use spring flowers you will get a fresh, verdant look, with lots of yellow, white and blue. Beautiful, but not punchy. Neither will you get the flower power necessary from planting grasses or later season plants either, as in spring time these plants give you more a sense of gathering speed, of putting on their make-up for later. Perhaps biennials will prove the solution?

Already the owner is questioning how it could be improved for next year. This attitude to gardening is commendable and refreshing, as further experimenting will lead to further discoveries (and hopefully more of those breathtaking moments well loved gardens can provide!)

The garden at Ulting Wick is a well worth a visit. As is this one, at Furzelea…

For more garden ideas, check out these books…

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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