THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug03

3 Things Your Garden Should Have If…

This blog post looks at the essentials required in your garden from a few different perspectives. These perspectives are…

The Wildlife Lover

The Garden Hater

The House Renter

This should give you a good idea about how, when designing your garden, what you need MUST be the driving force behind what your garden eventually ends up looking like… so without any further ado, let us start with our first list from the perspective of someone who cares about the planet…

3 Things Your Garden Should Have If…

You Love Wildlife

1) A compost heap. Gives a lovely home to lots of insects and becomes a feeding ground for the birds, as well as recycling all the goodness from your garden as a mulch whenever your garden most needs it…

2) A tree. This helps bring birds into your garden, as well as providing shade from the sun, leaf mould from the leaves that can be collected up in autumn, and flowers and fruit through the year – especially if the tree is wisely chosen. For a small garden, a hard-working tree that offers fruit as well as blossom is a crab apple. The common hawthorn is pretty good too.

3) A herb patch. You will probably not get around to using absolutely every herb you have, meaning those you have left uncut will flower – and guess who loves those chives, hyssop, lavender and oregano that didn’t make it into your pot? The bees do!

If you have a little space in which to add any of these 3 things you will immediately be making the world a better place. Add a pond and a few old logs left in a pile to rot down and you become Mrs Eco-Happy. A good name in our eyes…

(See Digging Deep by the Earth Friendly Gardener for more on what you can do for wildlife in your garden…)

3 Things Your Garden Should Have If…

You Hate Gardening

1) A wall covered with ivy. Ivy is great for wildlife, providing a habitat and food. It also gets on with life so it won’t bother you or ask anything of you. Lastly, most people hate ivy and think it is ugly (we think it is pretty, but we all have different tastes) so, by having it in your garden, you can use it as a focal point for your anger at how rubbish gardening is, and a constant reminder of how pointless you see it as an activity. Not that the ivy will bat an eyelid…

2) A piece of organic topiary.

3) A shrub border instead of grass. Grass takes effort, time and money to stay on top of, so if you really do hate your garden then get rid of the lawn – it means you won’t have 32-33 visits outside during the year just to cut some of the ‘green’ away. A shrub border will (once settled) give you lots of pleasure and need hardly any looking after (except for a bit of a weed, an occasional prune, maybe a feed or two… okay, this doesn’t make it maintenance free but it will cut down the mowing you have to do… and you may even enjoy the different textures and shapes the shrubs provide you with.)

3 Things Your Garden Should Have If…

You Rent a House

1) A fruit bush (or several). They can be kept in pots and move with you, giving you an instant harvest every year without having to leave anything behind. Figs are the most generous fruiters if kept in a pot for a long time…

2) A spot to sow annuals. If you want a plant that comes up quick because you might not be around long, look no further than annuals like cosmos, sweetpeas and poppies. They will give you colour and scent within months!

3) A shed. This will help you store your boxes of possessions that you don’t need straight away, or you don’t want to unpack until you know you will be staying somewhere for good. It is nothing if not a practical solution from us here at Modern Mint… so do you get that landlords? Give your tenants a shed that keeps out the rain!

There you have it then, a few short lists of what you can add to your garden that will make it a better place – whether you are a wildlife gardener (like us) or a garden hater, or just chained to a garden that won’t be yours for very long…

Mar19

Wasting Water

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 …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

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 …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

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 …

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