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.
Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits and flowers of your …
Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …
This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies?