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…

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

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Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

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Sep27

Book Yourself A Topiary Workshop 2022

organic topiary snow

Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022