THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar12

I Am A Genius vs I Have A Genius

This video is a Ted talk by author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything

She asks how are you supposed to create something if you fear the paralysis that comes from knowing you will be judged on it?

In the days of the Renaissance the individual became the supreme artist/creator – and so began to rise the idea of the tortured writer and the artistic ego.

But before that the Greeks believed ‘daemons’ helped them in the creative act. This disembodied figure released the trepidation felt at producing something and being criticised (or lauded) for it… no tormented genius needed, because someone else did the job and you were just the conduit for it to come through.

It is this idea that she offers us as a coping mechanism for the creative act. Remove the ‘genius’ from yourself and place it next to you. Make ‘genius’ something you have, not something you are (with all the impossible standards that proposition asks you to live up to!)

It seems to us gardens can be looked at in this way. By separating the place from the maker, we realise the garden (the daemon) has the most influence, is the ‘genius’ telling us what to do. The garden speaks, all we must do is listen.

This gives the gardener great power. Turn up, do your work, live entirely in the constant process of order and chaos, renewal and relaxation, genius and disaster. By getting out there and just going for it you will allow yourself the chance (with your daemon/gardens help) of creating something breathtaking and transformative. By staying inside and worrying about how stuck you feel you will forever be incapacitated.

We will leave you with the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, with how she ends her speech, because they are beautiful words and we hope they give you the courage to find your own genius and allow it to flourish…

“…don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance.If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then “Olé!”And if not, do your dance anyhow. And “Olé!” to you, nonetheless…. just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.” 

(Our favourite Elizabeth Gilbert book is this one… about self-sufficiency and making best use of what you have… absolutely brilliant!)

Apr22

Topiary Provocation Spring 2021

organic topiary snow

Topiary Provocation? What is this about? Topiary Provocation, Darren Lerigo, Spring 2021 This spring of 2021 I invited a number of garden designers to a series of meetings via Zoom, to discuss how topiary can be used effectively in modern gardens. I wanted to discover how both clients and designers felt about topiary, whether it was a part of the garden that got as much thought as, say, the choice of stone for a patio…. and if certain plants and shapes tended to trend in designs or if it truly was a mish-mash of different topiary styles. The provocation and talks …

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Apr22

Waltham Place Talk – Watch On Youtube

waltham place talk

Waltham Place in Maidenhead is one of my favourite gardens of all time. The philosophy is to garden with nature, rather than against, so improving the soil and growing a diverse range of plants is placed at the heart of how to manage the space.   Through the European Boxwood and Topiary Society I arranged a talk by the garden team at Waltham Place. It has been recorded and put on Youtube so if you missed it live, you can watch it there and get a feel for what they are doing. There are some extraordinary photos of the garden …

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Mar15

Topiary Provocation For Garden Designers

snow topiary

I am running a ‘Topiary Provocation’ for garden designers, via Zoom, over the next few weeks. Dates are: Tuesday 23rd March, 10am Wednesday 24th March 7.30pm Thursday 8th April, 7.30pm The ‘provocation’ is for garden designers anywhere in the world, is free to join and will last about 45 minutes. Places are limited to 12 per session, as I want to make sure we can share ideas about topiary and how it can be used (and managed) in a modern garden – especially if skill level and maintenance time is low. I hope that I can provoke a discussion around …

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