THE MODERN MINT BLOG
I do lots of garden talks to clubs and societies all over the UK.
You can see my subjects and how to book here – How to Book A Garden Talk.
But obviously life has changed hugely, with Covid-19 and the fact we are all in isolation. This has not stopped a few intrepid garden clubs from asking me if we can still meet and discuss gardening – this time via Zoom.
To Zoom Or Not to Zoom?
I have weighed up doing talks via video link before.
In the ‘for’ category, it would reduce my carbon footprint. I do try to off-set my travel to talks in far flung clubs around the UK by planting trees for each and very talk I give – you can join me by planting a tree too!
But I believe the passion with which you speak can be lost via a screen, negating the impact you can have on people and the way they garden. Often, people remember the feeling, the atmosphere around the evening, more than they remember what has actually been said.
It is that feeling they are left with that inspires action.
I’ve Tried Zoom Now, & I Like It…
Seven weeks into lockdown, with the loveliest spring imaginable outside my window, garden club bookers emailing wanting talks and my actual use of Zoom to partake in quizzes with friends and chats to the family, means I am starting to change my mind on this technology.
Yes. Luddite as I am, I realise what a fantastic opportunity it is to still be in touch with people and to come together as a group in exploration of a shared passion.
What I need to do is make a talk work WITH this new form.
That probably means:
- Shorter talks – no-one wants to listen to someone speak on a screen for an hour!
- Interaction – via polls, quiz questions before and during the talk, music and the sharing of screens for information.
- Community – finding ways for everyone to be involved, as they would at a ‘live’ talk… either by getting a chance to ask a question, share something about their garden, or just to hear them laugh and react as they would normally, adding to the bonhomie of the evening.
I love the idea of these new style of garden talks becoming something laced with anarchy, everyone placed in gallery view and wanting to get in on the action. Perhaps making them something like this…
Shall We Zoom Then?
As and when Covid-19 is put back in its box, then certainly I am keen to visit garden clubs to give talks as normal.
But until then, if you are a garden club or society and want a talk, and are willing to experiment with using Zoom, then please get in touch.
It would be a pleasure to talk gardening with you.
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022