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This year the tulips in the Old Farmyard Garden have been replaced by a new planting scheme, due to a virus in the soil.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

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