THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul10

Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis

We know we know – Verbena bonariensis is so well known, planted in so many gardens, that it has become uncool to use it these days. Its ubiquitiousness means it gets judged in harsher tones than other plants, as if its popularity has made it offensive.

This is not the Verbena’s fault. It became popular for a reason – it weaves its way around the garden but doesn’t out compete other plants, it provides height and structure, encourages wildlife, is a gorgeous purple, looks good with other plants and fits into schemes as diverse as a country meadow to urban minimalism. Who wouldn’t want a plant like that? (Possibly the people of Buenos Aires, where this Verbena was discovered and given its name ‘bonariensis’… we’ve not noticed it around the city recently. Time for a trip and take a better look? See if the Argentines are enjoying one of their own…?)

At Modern Mint we refuse to let this lack of love for the plant deter us – a heinous crime against the arbitrarial zeitgeist of good taste it currently may be, but it is a plant with wonderful qualities (for an example of how it is currently viewed, note that it didn’t make it into Dan Pearson’s list.)

The wheels will keep turning and it will come back into fashion, hopefully this time considered the great garden plant it is.

Where and how do you use it?

Plant it in full sun or part shade.

Don’t cut it down before winter, let it stand (and seed.)

It looks great alongside shrub roses, or Miscanthus…

It prefers a damper soil. Really, it does. Henk Gerritsen told us, and observations we made from our own experiments lead us to agree…

“I sometimes made deadful miscalculations. For example, I assumed that due to their lanky growth Verbena bonariensis  and Verbena hastata loved aridity, but in practise I noticed that they wilted away in dry places. Only later did I read that in the wild both species grow in moist places, in South and North America respectively.”

That concludes our ode to Verbena bonariensis. We hope you dismiss the current vogue of not using Verbena, and enjoy it as the brilliant garden plant it is.

(And click on the link below to take you to the wonderful Henk Gerritsen book we quoted from above…)

Dec13

Hiut Denim Jeans – As Good As Our Garden Tools

Lovely to see one of our favourite companies trending on the BBC today…. Hiut Denim Jeans. Not only do they make brilliant jeans, but they have been a massive inspiration to us. Their philosophy, to make the best jeans they can, not the most jeans they can, reminds us all the time that at Modern Mint, it is okay not to sell the same tools and products as the garden centres. Because we don’t like those tools. We like these tools…. These tools are the ones that will last you, that are sharp and strong yet light, and will be …

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Dec12

Garden Museum Topiary Visit To Kent

Next year the Garden Museum will be running a brilliant day out visiting traditional and contemporary topiary gardens in Kent and Sussex. Full details can be found here, for what promises to be a fantastic time seeing gardens! First stop on the trip will be to meet us and Charlotte Molesworth, in her garden, where will be demonstrating some topiary techniques and offering some of the best tools available for sale. Charlotte’s garden is an extraordinary place for wildlife, so this is not to be missed! Lunch will then be taken at the Walled Garden, where you will be able …

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Dec12

Topiary Work In Country Living Magazine

  This is the garden of our friend and topiary mentor Charlotte Moelsworth. To read more about it you can buy a copy of Country Living Magazine (December 2017 edition) and see the amazing photographs of the garden on an icy, cold morning. The shapes are truly stunning! Or you can check out more about Charlotte Molesworth here. If you do get to see the Country Living Magazine, and it inspires you to have yourself a little topiary in the garden – contact us to arrange a visit. Or buy some shears (the same shears both I and Charlotte use) and …

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