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
Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …
Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing? Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …
Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …