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.
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 …
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 …
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 …