THE MODERN MINT BLOG
We love topiary and clipping here at Modern Mint. That is one of the reasons we sell some of the best, sharpest and most beautifully balanced hand tools in the business…
THE BEST TOPIARY CLIPPERS. EVER.
So it is gratifying to read about others who have ditched the power tools and started taking the time to garden with a better, quieter connection to the plants.
“I decided at the end of autumn 2015 to become a fossil fuel-free gardener – or at least work towards it. No bothering with extension cables, no fiddling with my chainsaw’s petrol-oil mix, just muscle-power.
I’d like to say that my conversion was the result of a high-minded engagement with the Slow Movement, but that was only part of it. It was more to do with a growing irritation with just how much it takes to keep power tools happy….”
Read more about this chaps adventure in ditching power tools here.
We loved this article, because it shows what happens when you spend a little time with your plants. You learn more about how they grow, sure, but you also learn about yourself. Those few times he has spent doing the garden, bit by bit, creates a habit that will eventually lead him to his goal (of cutting the hedge without fossil fuel.)
Less irritation with sorting out the tools, less of an attitude that it is just another job to tick off the to-do list, gardening in tune with your own muscle means you grow personally – the mind will start by racing away with all the thing you could be doing, but then settles (quicker than you might think!) and allows you to focus, pay real attention, on the actual job at hand.
It is a lovely way to live, to work – and who needs the hedge done at once anyway?
Kudos to the guy as well, for having hedges as the boundaries of his home. What a fantastic place for wildlife to inhabit.
To see what can be done with hand tools, check out our work with Charlotte Molesworth at her topiary garden in Kent….
To see the tools we use to make life easier and the mind… sharper… visit our pruning tools page for a browse.
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 …
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 …