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…

Apr22

Topiary Provocation Spring 2021

organic topiary snow

Topiary Provocation? What is this about? Topiary Provocation, Darren Lerigo, Spring 2021 This spring of 2021 I invited a number of garden designers to a series of meetings via Zoom, to discuss how topiary can be used effectively in modern gardens. I wanted to discover how both clients and designers felt about topiary, whether it was a part of the garden that got as much thought as, say, the choice of stone for a patio…. and if certain plants and shapes tended to trend in designs or if it truly was a mish-mash of different topiary styles. The provocation and talks …

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Apr22

Waltham Place Talk – Watch On Youtube

waltham place talk

Waltham Place in Maidenhead is one of my favourite gardens of all time. The philosophy is to garden with nature, rather than against, so improving the soil and growing a diverse range of plants is placed at the heart of how to manage the space.   Through the European Boxwood and Topiary Society I arranged a talk by the garden team at Waltham Place. It has been recorded and put on Youtube so if you missed it live, you can watch it there and get a feel for what they are doing. There are some extraordinary photos of the garden …

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Mar15

Topiary Provocation For Garden Designers

snow topiary

I am running a ‘Topiary Provocation’ for garden designers, via Zoom, over the next few weeks. Dates are: Tuesday 23rd March, 10am Wednesday 24th March 7.30pm Thursday 8th April, 7.30pm The ‘provocation’ is for garden designers anywhere in the world, is free to join and will last about 45 minutes. Places are limited to 12 per session, as I want to make sure we can share ideas about topiary and how it can be used (and managed) in a modern garden – especially if skill level and maintenance time is low. I hope that I can provoke a discussion around …

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