THE MODERN MINT BLOG
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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 …
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 …
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