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…

Jan12

A Topiary Calendar – When To Prune

When do you prune? Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits …

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Jan11

The English Garden Magazine – On Our Topiary Workshop

Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …

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Nov17

Topiary Provocation Autumn 2021

This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies? I did a similar meet-up with garden designers in spring 2021. Here is where you can read the Topiary Provocation Spring …

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