THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Feb05

BIG WORDS

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…?

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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