THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun12

A Garden Design Problem… and a Solution

You decide you need to sort out the garden, so call in a designer.

You tell them what you want, what you like and they (if they’re good) help you discover possibilities you never knew existed. You get excited (if not, get another designer!) and you proceed with transforming your outdoors into something amazing.

You stand on your new terrace, next to your new pond, looking out over your immaculate new lawn, feel the soft feathery leaf of the newly planted Mexican Feather Grass and sniff deeply the perfume of the roses from your new rose garden.

Apples, plums and quince grow in the renewed orchard just beyond the hedge. The meadow is in flower. All is right with the world and you know you have made a fantastic choice.

6 months later and the garden looks a mess.

You stand on your terrace, which needs a sweep, look out over the lawn, which needs a cut, feel the brittle leaf of a dying… you get the picture right?

A garden design problem is – how will you continue to look after the garden when the work is done? There is a brilliant interview Anne Wareham did that suggests gardens are a process, and so design is just buying a starting point. Her interviewee John Sales said:

“in a garden every repeated operation has a cumulative effect – even how you cut the lawn, rake paths, mend fences, or repair buildings. Everything you do in a garden contributes to and is design. Design is not just what you draw on paper.”

We’ve been thinking about this a lot, asking a lot of people – other designers we know would love a service which looks after their ‘starting point’ properly.

How to solve this problem? Remove the expectation of the garden designer from the client – no drawings, no mood boards, no plans – just a designer who can unpack what a client wants and then express it by making the garden. Or, and we think this one will be easier for people to take up – employ a roving head gardener.

Roving Head Gardener is a term Gill Chamberlain of Garden Rescue uses – smart smart idea! – and one we actively encourage others to use. This way, gardens are tended and made, or “sustained by constant adjustment towards a known ideal,” as the John Sales interview says.

Call us if you have had a garden designed and need it looked after. Call us if you need a Roving Head Gardener in Essex, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire or Surrey. It is a garden design problem… solved.

Recommended Reading (as in, we hope these inspire you to make a garden!):

This is Anne Wareham’s (who did the interview we’ve quoted above) book.

And if you need a giggle, or a silly present for Father’s Day… try this…

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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