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…

Nov13

Learn To Clip Topiary Workshop 2020

topiary artists

I am running a topiary workshop in 2020 with the wonderful topiary artist Charlotte Molesworth at her spectacular topiary garden in Kent. This is a topiary workshop where you will learn to clip, so be prepared to do some cutting. We start with a tour of the garden, which Charlotte and her husband Donald have been cultivating for 34 years. It is organic, full of wildlife and has the most extraordinary pruned shapes made from yew and boxwood. You can see more photos of the garden in an article in the Guardian here: Topiary Garden In Kent What Else Will …

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Oct09

Hardy Plant Society Middlesex Talk Notes

On Monday night I gave a talk to the Hardy Plant Society Middlesex. Below are a few links for further information based on some of the ideas discussed in the talk: Real Seeds – a fantastic supplier of fruit and vegetable seeds for growers. Boxwood Caterpillar Advice – from the European Boxwood & Topiary Society. I will also write a little companion piece this winter with more information and some topiary techniques, so watch out for that on this website. Boxwood Lure & Nematodes – my preferred option for dealing with the caterpillar. Discount code for 10% off is EBTSBOX29GBZ …

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