THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun01

Chelse Fringe, Week 2

Our Chelsea Fringe project ‘You Should Have Seen It Last Week…’ has now reached its second week and material gathered is now starting to look really good. If you haven’t been to a Chelsea Fringe project yet – what are you doing with your time?!?

The contrast between the plants in the southern hemisphere (which enters Autumn) and the project participants from Europe cannot be more marked – all that seems to change each day in Amalia Robredo’s photos is the sea, although if you look closely the fruits on the Cereus uruguayanus (cacti at the front) are being eaten by the birds.

The peonies from Willow in Italy and Oana in the UK have taken a slow evolution from flower bud to flower, but have now passed the stage of promise and are showing us their marvellous blooms, while the Essex garden started with a few tiny green shoots that now appear to be proper seedlings.

Anthea Harrison gave us a ‘ta-da’ moment last week, while Sophie seems to have a new flower everyday depending on when the sun hits the garden. Maja and Andrew Thorne’s garden in Germany is a beautiful contribution, forget-me-nots turning from blue to grey, daisies in the lawn coming and going depending on when they are mowed and flashes of colour from the roses as they open up in the garden…

Artist Gloria Sanvicente Amor chose to work with cut flowers. We watch in the knowledge they exist on borrowed time, losing a little more vitality and warmth each day – it reminds us of a family member coming to the end of a long illness, the urgency to share gracefully what time is left – these photos have been a soft reminder of these times.

We hope you are enjoying this project so far, please do keep coming back for its final week!

Thank you, Modern Mint and the Chelsea Fringe…

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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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

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 …

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Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

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 …

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