THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May12

Fernando Caruncho

“One person may become a gardener and another one may be a ‘pilgrim’ for life. The first will be found in a simple garden with rose parterres. The other will create an arcane, geometric display. The first will use his hoe to repeat a daily performance like a fecundity rite. The second will wander from place to place, searching out different shapes. In the end, both of them will arrive at the same point; their patient pursuit of fantasy will be rewarded in the creation of a real garden. The traveller will ask his friend with the hoe what has happened in the garden during his absence. He, in his turn, will say, ‘tell me, tell me, what have you seen on your travels?’ Both question each other with the wonderful innocence of men who have tried to put something beautiful back into the infinite treasure of life.”

Fernando Caruncho, in an interview at the start of his book Mirrors of Paradise: The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho

We have always liked that story. The pilgrim and the gardener living seemingly opposite lives, with opposing attitudes, and yet getting to exactly the same place. Easy as well to recognise ourselves as both the pilgrim and the gardener at different stages of our life.

Fernando Caruncho is a landscape designer, or a ‘gardener’ as he insists on calling himself. His most famous work is at Mas de la Voltes, where huge fields of wheat constitute the landscape, but you can also see some of his design work at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Madrid. We highly recommend a visit (and the city itself is great fun.)

Stephen Lacey wrote an interesting interview with him here, and in it Caruncho himself says, “I like to utilise mainly the basic plants of the region, such as olives, vines and cypress – plants that connect the garden to the landscape and the culture.” This can be testified in the limited range of plants he uses in his designs. Just count below how many appear throughout his book…

Trees and shrubs:

Bay, Cypress, Holm Oak, Lemon, Lime, Mastic, Myrtle, Olive, Orange, Palms, Pine, Arbutus, Acer, Oleander, Camellia, Hydrangea, Lonicera, Roses, Buxus, Escallonia, Pittosporum…

Climbers:

Grapevines, Bougainvillea, Ivy, Trachelospermum, Wisteria…

Other:

Waterlilly, Wheat, Bamboo, Lawns…

In variety of course, but still a very small palette. But this gives his work a restful nature, and a definitive stamp. You will quickly learn to recognise his work and the formality that pervades it.

Fernando Caruncho has been a big influence on our design work at Modern Mint, although you may not think it with the range of plants we use – but the excitement that envelops us (or any designer!) when we begin work on a new garden means halfway through the draft work we will have 1000 ideas and want to use them all… and it is this moment when Caruncho’s adage for simplifying exerts its profoundest impact.

An important impact, as the garden must be unified and tell a story that works. Caruncho is a master of this. Do check out his gardens, his books… and a few other blogs we have written about his work!

Other blogs – Caruncho’s Temporal Cosmic Garden & Estudio Caruncho.

Then he also features in the following:

Contemporary Designers’ Own Gardens

Mirrors of Paradise: The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho

(Finally, don’t miss an intriguing interview in Monty Don’s ‘Around the World in 80 Gardens’…)

Jul21

Making & Maintaining Topiary

Topiary Service Modern Mint now offers a topiary service. So if you get stuck with an old tree or hedge that you aren’t sure what to do with – but know you don’t want to cut it down – then contact us and we will give you a helping hand.   This bay tree use to be an overgrown mess, with no real presence. It felt unloved, unnecessary and out of place, taking up space right by the path as you enter the back garden. We lifted the bottom branches to show off the trunks, reduced the height and width and …

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Jul17

Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham is a comedian. We met him, and some of his family, last year at a Christmas Fair. He bought a gift for his father (a log gobbler, which he thought his dad would find funny….) and in the process of buying it also supported the charity the Christmas Fair was raising money for. He was a lovely chap and laughed a lot. We like that in our customers….! Then lo and behold, here he is, providing 30 minutes of funny on the BBC – check it out: Ivo Graham – Live from the BBC He will also be …

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Jul03

Roses – Another One For People Who Plant For Bees

We are currently writing a book about plants that do a great job of Helping The Honeybee. This means we are always on the lookout for flowers that are attractive to our little, honey making friends. This week we have heard plenty of buzzing coming from: Dead nettle Helenium Alliums Veronicastrum Escallonia Plus we glanced in a magazine and saw a note about bees preferring dark flowers when they forage in the shade. We will research this a little more for you, but worth making a note of and thinking about right now if you have a dark patch of …

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