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Dr Si Poole, Associate Professor of Cultural Education appeared on this week’s Gardener’s World on BBC 2 showcasing his internationally recognised collection of 187 different types of mint. There are currently only three such collections of mint in the UK, with Si’s being the largest here and possibly in Europe, in terms of the number of types. 

Si showed the collection in his garden at his home in Broxton, Cheshire, to the cameras and explained how the hobby has helped him with mindfulness. Presenter Monty Don described him as “enthralled by mint”. 

Si shared how found gardening a “solace, a fascination and a way of relaxing and reflecting.” He added: “Spending time in the garden is great for having a think.” 

He told viewers how he had always had a broad knowledge of gardening but no in-depth knowledge and picked a species to find out as much as possible about. He picked mint as it suited his lifestyle with a busy day job and it is a plant that can “tolerate a bit of neglect, has functionality and is quite easy to look after”. 

From the Corsican mint in Crème de Menthe through to Apple mint used for apple sauce through to mint from the Middle East, Si gave tips and advice on how to propagate the plants and how to make sure the more vigorous ones don’t take over the garden! 

He also shared how growing the plants helped him with the grieving process when his father passed away three years ago. He said he was spending more and more time in the garden, especially in the evenings and he realised the nurturing process was part of the healing process. 

Si’s mint plants have been recognised by the National Plant Collection, a conservation scheme run by Plant Heritage, through which individuals or organisations can document, develop and preserve a comprehensive collection of one group of plants in trust for the future. Like Si’s mint collection, most of the collections are composed of a related group. Collection holders voluntarily subscribe to the scheme’s ideals and stringent requirements and can be professional or amateur. 

Si added: “I didn’t expect to love mint as much as I’ve ended up loving it! I didn’t realise there were so many varieties - 187 plants later and you can get hooked!” 

To watch the programme visit here

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