THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul07

Japanese Gardens

Always fascinated by Japanese Gardens, Modern Mint took a trip last Autumn to Japan to finally experience them face to face.

At Ryoan-ji
At Ryoan-ji

The absolute highlight was our trip to Ryoan-ji. A client of ours had been there previously and felt the same way as us about it – the most beautiful place. Because it has so few plants (although, looking at the picture above, we can see plenty of greenery!) it could be called a minimalist garden… but as an experience goes, it feels complex and completely maximalist when you’re there.

The Philosophers Walk
The Philosophers Walk

The Philosophers Walk is not a Japanese garden, but it does ask you to slow down and contemplate the landscape around you. Packed in spring when the cherry blossom is out, it still held charm on a warm, rainy day in November.

One Chrysanthemum. Yep. Just one...
One Chrysanthemum. Yep. Just one…

What you can’t see is that this is just one plant, grown aand trained to produced 1000 blooms. This is a nationally revered flower in Japan and a symbol of the celebration of Autumn. What a way to celebrate!

Sticking your head underneath its canopy you see the stem these flowers are produced from – it is about pencil thickness. Incredible. Like much of Japan really…

For more on Japanese Gardens (though perhaps the best way to begin understanding them is to go there and see them for yourself) start with these books…

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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