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!)

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a  reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …

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