THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Today we celebrate 1 year since Modern Mint registered as a business – Happy Anniversary!
We have come a long way in that time. The original website, when it went live, totalled a (whopping) four pages. Now we look back in amazement – we have the shop, the garden design work, the Chelsea Fringe projects, the organic topiary, the Ten Meadows project, the garden talks… and this, our 200th blog post.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…
… from little acorns do mighty oaks grow.
These are well-known quotes, so over-used it is hard to notice how important they are. Which is true of a lot in life – the common becomes easy to forget or dismiss. We are using this first anniversary to take stock, see where we can improve for the next year.
First of all will be some changes to the website, to make it easier to navigate and find what you are looking for, as well as being made easier for you to keep up to date with new posts. We are trying to get more posts written by other garden writers too, so you can call on their experience and knowledge.
Second of all will be the new suppliers to the shop. We have been seeking answers to questions of sustainability and the reduction of waste – we still seek answers but are gradually learning more about what is a product that treads lightly on the earth, and what is a product that doesn’t. We had searched ourselves for these products and had struggled to find them all in one place, or found the people who made them had no platform from which to speak. So the Modern Mint shop became our solution to this, a place for us to share with you the things we felt were valuable.
Thirdly will be a change in our design practise. This follows on the lead from the shop, in trying to reduce waste and make something more beautiful, long-lasting and worthwhile. We are insisting on a major reduction in chemicals by our clients, as well as trying to talk them away from buying and planting mature trees. It can happen (and must happen) – it is purely about educating people on the choices they can make.
Rainwater harvesting, compost making and vegetable growing are all being drawn into designs as standard. It sounds silly, but it does not always happen – but we are realising our role is to play ‘garden evangelist’ rather than ‘garden designer’ (hats off to Michael McCoy for talking so astutely about this…)
If we can encourage people to get to know their garden, to engage with it and enjoy it, we may be able to make a huge difference to the way we live – to be more grateful and protective of the landscape we have, the food and water and fragrance it provides, the spaces we currently have to work and rest and play in.
“We’ve always counted on a media arbiter to raise the bar of our culture.”
We hope Modern Mint, in conjunction with the wonderful suppliers we work with, writers who write for us, and colleagues and peer groups we learn from, can be the resource that helps you garden in a modern way. It is why we step forward with a smile on our face, on this journey towards a second anniversary.
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
I am an experienced teacher of topiary and pruning, running workshops in the topiary garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent, as well as for The English Gardening School and The European Boxwood And Topiary Society. So if you are a keen gardener, a garden club, a group of friends who want to know more or even an absolute beginner who has been bitten by the gardening bug, then do contact me about what you might like to learn. What a laugh we are having in this workshop session I ran for a group of friends in Essex… Many people employ …