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…

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.