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…

Jan12

A Topiary Calendar – When To Prune

When do you prune? Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits …

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Jan11

The English Garden Magazine – On Our Topiary Workshop

Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …

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Nov17

Topiary Provocation Autumn 2021

This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies? I did a similar meet-up with garden designers in spring 2021. Here is where you can read the Topiary Provocation Spring …

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