THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun30

Article In Topiarius Magazine

I recently wrote a piece for Topiarius magazine, the flagship publication of the European Boxwood & Topiary Society – of which Modern Mint is both a member and big supporter.

Check out the EBTS here. They frequently run courses and talks too, so worth keeping an eye on.

Below is the piece I wrote about the tools I use when making topiary and pruning trees….

Darren’s Piece In Topiarius Magazine

I use Okatsune Secateurs, which I started pruning with when working on a large orchard in Hampshire.

My Felco’s were too difficult to open with cold hands, but the chunky clasp at the bottom of the Okatsune, with their iconic red and white handles, made them a practical replacement. The steel is strong and the action channelled towards the cutting blades. They are my everyday secateurs.

Secateurs whetstone gift set

Newly hooked on Japanese tools, I bought the Okatsune shears and the soft whetstone to keep it sharp. I love the balance of the 21″s, the blade length allowing for a smooth and rapid flow as you clip, the handles light and strong.

Shears Ultimate gift set

Tobisho make the ‘Barracuda’ topiary clippers I use.

I hated most hand clippers; too clunky, too stiff, too blunt, too painful to use for longer than five minutes. Handmade, these clippers are worth the outlay, so sharp and tough they make the work fun and allow you to focus on adding detail to the topiary piece you are making.

My indefensible purchase are the Tobisho shears with curved blades. Imagine two samurai swords, just bolted together. A weapon for making organic shapes! You don’t need them and you can only really use them on boxwood.

But I bought them because they are thrilling to use, so light and sharp and shiny. They seem able to slice the air. A foolish purchase. Yet as I write this, I catch myself smiling thinking about them. Roll on the boxwood season….

If You Have A Plant You Need Pruning…

Get in touch and see if I can help you.

I happily clip hedges into interesting shapes, sculpt shrubs, make topiaries, prune roses, wisteria and fruit trees.

Don’t let a plant in your garden go to waste. Make it architectural and interesting by pruning it with an eye for the detail.

And of course, make sure you use some decent tools whilst you make it. They will help save you time and make pruning a joy.

Check out more pruning tools here.

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.