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.
Here is an updated list of books for keen gardeners. I have enjoyed these books immensely, they range from designers and how they work to helping wildlife to thrive. And by buying from here you are helping local or independent bookshops to survive too. Here is the list – go take a look and nab something to read now!
I compiled a list of books using Bookshop, a new online shop to rival Amazon. I like it because it is supporting independent bookshops, helping them out by giving them an audience whilst their own physical premises are closed. The books I’ve listed are not all about gardening, but worth a look through and an order anyway as they are wonderful and have seen me through lockdown – and I hope they bring you some joy too! Check out the books I recommend here.
Hedge laying is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time, a type of pruning that can bring huge benefits to wildlife as well as looking amazing. So last year I went down to Dorset/the edge of Devon, to spend a day learning to lay a hedge. Hedge laying is a way of building a stock proof fence. It does take time, and some practical and physical skill, but once you get the hang of it I would think developing your instinct about what to prune and where to lay the branches is where the true proficiency arises… …