THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May01

Jake Hobson and Creative Pruning

Ripe for Pruning

The buxus hedge in the picture above – ripe for pruning!

Jake Hobson is a cloud pruning specialist, and we love his work here at Modern Mint.

But what is creative pruning/organic topiary? It is a step away from the traditional or old-fashioned forms of topiary and into something with a freer form, something that has movement to it, an opulence, a life force. We realise we are heading into esoteric territory here, but we are talking about a creative act, one that works best when hedge and pruner are working together symbiotically… the pruner bringing attention to a shape half hidden, the plant guiding the pruner to how it really wants to grow.

(The other day we heard a philosophy about bringing up children; that your children are only on loan to you, they are not to keep. Try all you might and worry all you will, but one day they will have to go. This gives you something of the flavour of organic topiary – you can exert your influence, but the hedge must also do its own thing!)

There is a lot of fun to be had with the terms associated to Organic Topiary; ‘blobberies’ and ‘twmps’ distort language as much as the style distorts our expectations of the traditional topiary shapes. Formality and grandeur is out, skewed and peculiar are in.

The video below is from a series Carol Klein did in her own garden. In it, Jake Hobson cloud prunes a box hedge (“elevate this hedge into art!” she says) his section starts around the 18.50 mark…

We love what they were trying to do with the hedge, linking its shape to the landscape beyond it…

“It should be natural and organic looking, with just a little bit of definition to it, and nothing too strong or dramatic.”

But imagine pruning it with a sharper intent, to create contrast amongst unrestrained grasses or a meadow. That would look fantastic too.

In his book ‘The Art of Creative Pruning’ Jake Hobson asks where pruning might go next, “… trends change, but for every decline there follows a revival.  The influence of the East will surely continue to grow, along with an informal style of pruning that embraces natural, organic forms. Conversely, formal topiary and traditional western skills will continue to thrive as people refine, and redefine, them.”

We love organic topiary and think it suits modern gardens perfectly – clients want something (if not fully bespoke) then most definitely unusual, and this is the most low impact and gratifying way to deliver it. Do please give us a call if you wish to discuss a possible creative pruning or organic topiary project you might have. The subject is close to our hearts!

Topiary books and Jake Hobson’s ‘The Art of Creative Pruning’…

The Art of Creative Pruning: Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs

Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way

Topiary: Garden Craftsmanship in Yew and Box

A Practical Guide to Topiary

… and this beautiful book from Jacques Wirtz…

The Gardens of Wirtz

Dec10

What I Love – Other Tools & Garden Bits

seaweed

What I love are great tools and products that have an eco-friendly, sustainable aspect to them. This might be the amazing Hori-Hori (the Japanese version of a garden trowel) a Nunki weeder or even a Tarp Hat for gardening. But what I can’t do is have absolutely everything here online, or in our stock room. Where I live just isn’t big enough. Plus Modern Mint is only me, with occasional help, so I really do have to make sure I am only offering you keen gardeners the very best tools. This way, you are happy and come back and buy more …

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Dec07

Topiary Artist & Pruning UK – Darren Lerigo

Topiary Artist Darren Lerigo

My name is Darren Lerigo and I make and maintain topiary like this here in the UK. Organic shaped hedges and ‘Big Bird’ in the background I work for a range of people across many different gardens, but the majority of my clients are people who: Are keen garden lovers Want something fun or extraordinary in their garden Are keen on design, or are artists and creatives in their own right Understand their current garden and shrubs can be given a makeover and improved Have just had a garden design done and need a professional hand to maintain the new evergreens …

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Dec07

Gardening Talks To Clubs And Societies

My name is Darren Lerigo. I am a gardener and topiary artist and I provide garden talks  for clubs all over the UK. If you are a speaker finder in need of a talk, then please do get in touch. But please note this is a short introduction to my talks. For full information, go to Garden Club Speaker For Your Group. With my talks, I hope to: Provide your group with something interesting, informative and fun. Make your life as easy as possible. I will do this by turning up on time, bringing equipment that works, making sure the …

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