THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug08

Top 5 Coffee Table Garden Books

(No, Christmas is not here yet…) But we thought we would share the best coffee table garden books that we have come across – in case you need to give someone a present that is hefty enough to mean something, cheap enough to afford and beautiful enough to actually be worthwhile.

1) Mirrors of Paradise: The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho

Our number one book is about garden designer Fernando Caruncho. He was a big influence on us when we started our garden design business and there is much to be learnt from his planting schemes – basically, he uses several species of a very few plants, allaying this with a satisfying sense of space and void. We gave this book as a gift to a client last year, to open his mind to a philosophy of gardening that he had moved away from completely (he had gone for more dynamic, wilder plantings…)

Why did we offer him something that he wasn’t so interested in? To show him just how far he had come in his relationship with his garden. And because the gardens, whether they are your style or not, will make you sit up and look closely. This book will reflect back what you know and don’t know about gardening. Buy Mirrors of Paradise: The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho now.

2) Ulf Nordfjell: Fourteen Gardens

Ribes, phlox, dicentra, gillenia… blueberry, lingonberry, meadows… scilla, puschkinia and narcissus… these are the plants Ulf uses, these are the plants you will see in the coffee table garden book. Another brilliant designer that will get you looking at your garden in a totally new way…

3) The Scandinavian Garden

Following on with the Scandinavian theme is this one about Scandinavian Gardens. It is a coffee table book, so of course the pictures are brilliant, but the writing too is sharp enough to make you want to have nothing but rocks and lichen to tend.

We have spent a lot of time in Scandinavia over the last decade and, though the growing season is short, the people are not afraid to use colour and really enjoy the time they have. Whenever we open this book it makes us long to spend summer gardening in Scandinavia, using dill in all our food and walking through the Swedish forests picking mushrooms to take back home and fry in lots of butter. Giving The Scandinavian Garden as a gift will certainly make you stand out to your friends…

4) Jardins de Jacques Wirtz

It seems at times this book is a struggle to get. Because it adorns the coffee tables of that many homes? We hope so, as it is a magnificent book, another one that inspired us when we set out to design gardens. He is known for his cloud pruned box and hedges of tightly clipped beech, yet as Monty Don says…

“There are flowers too. Lots of them. But no traditional borders. Everything has a utilitarian shape about it. They grow their flowers in rows… this might seem brutally functional, but… the flower garden thus takes on the easy confidence of an allotment…”

Having this coffee table garden book will catch the eye and set off conversation with anyone who sees it.

5) Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan’s Leading Garden Designer

38 gardens, a conversation with designer Shunmyo and site plans to pour over. If you know someone interested in garden design or horticulture, they will be amazed when you give them this. Why amazed? Because having visited Japan, we can tell you the gardens are jaw dropping in the way they look and the serene atmosphere they provide you with. This book is worth it.

Hopefully these five recommendations for coffee table garden books have helped you find a present for someone you care about – if you like it, they should as well, yes?

Happy shopping!


Aug19

Seminar On Topiary Composition

organic topiary blob autumn

Topiary Composition and design is a major part of my work – which is why I have created an online seminar for keen gardeners and creatives to learn how to compose a piece of topiary. There are several dates available so please head here to buy a ticket. The seminar lasts two hours (including q and a) and will explore the process needed to look at a shrub or hedge and work out what you can design from it. These principles have been learnt the hard way – through mentoring, experimenting and years of practise. Hopefully, it will help you shortcut …

READ MORE

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. …

READ MORE

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.