THE MODERN MINT BLOG
When a client trusts us with their garden we immediately begin thinking and puzzling over how we can improve that space, how we can make it relate to the world in a way that encourages wildlife and diversity while being something the client values too.
It is an important question – what do we do with this space?
But it doesn’t seem enough, to only look at these tiny patches of land that we garden. What about the materials we bring in and add to the space? What about the materials we take away? We are connected to so many processes that to focus only on the end product seems daft – and so we have widened our focus and added to Modern Mint this – the Modern Mint Shop.
It is a platform for us to explore values of sustainability, waste reduction, ecology, artisan craftsmanship and biodiversity. These are BIG WORDS and, used off-hand, can fail to reflect the true nuances entailed within their meanings. For example, we may feel like an eco-warrior for putting our empty tin of tuna into the recycling bin, but if we do it without reflecting on the issues surrounding overfishing what good have we actually done?
It means we are on a journey – to redefine how we work as garden designers, to ask more questions of the products we sell and discover how we can (in a gentle way) educate clients about the role their garden has to play in our present, but also our future.
We have a lot to learn, a lot of questions to ask – we certainly aren’t perfect right now, but we hope that you will join us in finding out the answers to our questions about how to tread lightly in a modern world, and unearth the subtle differences in each of the BIG WORDS – and as such, finding out how far we can change, how far we can go.
Individual acts will help this world – but businesses and the communities that surround them have the opportunity to help it faster.
Perhaps we will start by studying this…?
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 …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …
Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …