THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Earlier this month Modern Mint were lucky enough to be invited to visit the garden of Charlotte Molesworth – the Queen of Topiary.
The garden is full of the most wonderful shapes in yew and box – peacocks, pets, clouds, plinths, blobs – you name it, the sun will be shining on it throughout the day, creating the most beautiful shadows and textures.
Charlotte explained that they have grown the garden over the last 33 years, the box all coming from cuttings. Looking at the sheer size and weight, it seems incredible that these pieces of art have grown from a tiny piece of stem.
But that is gardening – patience rewards!
Not just a topiarist, working wonders with plants, Charlotte is also an artist (in a more traditional sense) and flower arranger. Do pop down to her studio when it is open to see her creations.
We left inspired to do more clipping and topiary work, and to grow our own plants for pruning – not just the traditional native evergreens box and yew, but things like pittosporum, phillyrea and holm oak too.
Hopefully by next year we can put together some space for creating ‘hedge art’ – and one day become as good as Charlotte Molesworth!
If you want to have a go at some topiary, check out some tips we learnt previously from the ‘Topiary King’ Jake Hobson…
And most importantly – use good, sharp tools!
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. …
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.
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 …