THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Apr22

Waltham Place Talk – Watch On Youtube

Waltham Place in Maidenhead is one of my favourite gardens of all time. The philosophy is to garden with nature, rather than against, so improving the soil and growing a diverse range of plants is placed at the heart of how to manage the space.

 

waltham place talk

Through the European Boxwood and Topiary Society I arranged a talk by the garden team at Waltham Place. It has been recorded and put on Youtube so if you missed it live, you can watch it there and get a feel for what they are doing.

There are some extraordinary photos of the garden alongside those who have worked in it (as well as those who didn’t care for it at all!) and it is all soundtracked by the birds in the garden, who were singing the whole time the talk was going on.

Just to prove that this way of gardening enhances life for so many creatures.

Do watch the talk on Waltham Place here on Youtube.

waltham place

During the talk the garden team spoke about plants that were able to resist being predated by rabbit and deer. This is based on the list the designer and plantsman Henk Gerritsen (another favourite of mine, for his brilliant book Essay On Gardening) made when he came to work on the garden and give it some direction.

The list is below, so do take a look if you are after plants that are resilient to animals nibbling them…

  • Cornus sibirica
  • Romneya coulteri
  • Euphorbia palustris
  • Rheum palmatum ‘Atrosanguineum’
  • Helleborus argutifolius
  • Aconitum
  • Bergenia
  • Thalictrum
  • Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Roseum’
  • Cephalaria gigantea
  • Miscanthus ‘Malepartus’
  • Ranunculus aconitifolius
  • Salvia glutinosa

Do visit Waltham Place if you get a chance (they do a walk with the gardener one day a week.) It is an extraordinary place.

And for more about me, see  my topiary work 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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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …

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Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …

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