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…

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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