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.

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a  reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …

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