THE MODERN MINT BLOG
We visited the 1 1/2 acre garden Woodpeckers at Burnham on Crouch over the last bank holiday weekend. It felt like a bigger garden than this, split as it was into different spaces each with their own atmosphere.
What we liked most was that each space was clearly defined. It takes a brave owner to do that,to take the plunge and not dilute the quality each space in the garden has been asked to provide.
The meadows in the orchard were beautiful at this time of year…
… at least we thought so. We overheard one visitor say, “it’s all just managed weeds,” as they turned away and headed towards the vegetable garden. It’s an old-fashioned way of judging plants – good and bad, wanted and unwanted, plants and weeds – they are all plants, all the same, and have their own uses and their own beauty. But you can’t please everyone.
(Just to be clear – meadows are not about ‘managing weeds’ or having a ‘can’t be bothered mowing’ attitude to the garden work – they are about creating a particular set of conditions, managing them in a similar way, and then allowing the plants that suit those conditions to flourish. You will also get more flowering events per square metre than in many traditional herbaceous borders. What is not to like about that?)
The pool was a flower free zone. It surprised us when we walked in, but the absolute lack of flowers suggested it must be a deliberate choice. Linda explained, “I wanted one place in the garden where I could sit and read my book without getting distracted. If there were flowers here, I would always be looking up and seeing something else that needs to be done.”
Many of us could relate to that… and what is more, the walls that enclose the pool garden are beautiful in themselves, and so worth allowing them to take centre stage.
Linda has a genuine love for the exuberance of the cottage garden, and this lends a more relaxed spirit to the garden. Plants can self-seed, borders are full and the odd flowering treasure can be found if you keep your eyes open… a Mathiasella appeared before us on one corner.
The gardens we have visited so far for the NGS in Essex have been of an exceptionally high standard. What is most impressive is the attitude each of these women take to their gardens – they are bold in what they set out to achieve and make conscious choices about how they do it. We encourage that in anyone who is keen to garden – go for it, make something brilliant!
Woodpeckers will be open again in June, please do see the NGS for dates and times.
Or for a selection of our favourite books… The Modern Mint Book Store
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …