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This year the tulips in the Old Farmyard Garden have been replaced by a new planting scheme, due to a virus in the soil.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…

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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