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.
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 …
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 …
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.