THE MODERN MINT BLOG
The video features Monty Don visiting different gardens in South Africa. If you watch a short section from 26-30 minutes you will see him with a man named Donovan, who has a garden called L’il Eden in Cape Town.
“I see myself as an artist…” Donovan says, “… I come to my garden, I experiment, I play around with the rocks… it’s always changing.”
The garden is also used to run a project introducing children to the pleasures of gardening. Donovan has a very clear idea of what his garden does for people, and what his role is to the garden.
What role do you take in your own outdoor space? What attitude do you view your garden with?
This is an endlessly fascinating question, and the answer you give more often than not reflects the garden you end up with. Someone who sees it as hard work will probably have lots of hard landscaping. Someone who loves wildlife and nature will probably let weeds grow in the pathways. Someone who loves flowers will probably have the ‘big four’ – ornamental poppies, iris, peonies and delphiniums – with a fair few roses too.
Henk Gerritsen wrote ‘don’t whinge.’ A good attitude to cultivate as things can often go wrong in the garden!
Architectural Plants say ‘be bold and avoid being timid.’
While Strilli Oppenheimer put “we seek to combine forces with nature rather than fighting against it, and to explore the boundaries between garden and nature. In doing so, we have created a haven to an abundance of insect and animal life, fungi and indigenous flora. This is our legacy, our investment in the future.”
All of them strong, clear viewpoints on what a garden can be. So to help your garden, spend as much time cultivating your attitude to it as you do cultivating the soil. How you think about the landscape in front of you, and the world around you, needs every bit as much time, attention and love as your plants do.
And as for us here at Modern Mint – what attitude do we take? We want to invite you to see any outdoor space through our eyes, whether it be a field, a garden, a pot, or the bare soil of a traffic island – a place of potential beauty, that can be transformed in a way that has a positive impact on people as well as the planet.
We want you to be so excited about your garden that you feel like you can jump over the moon. That, for us, is the attitude we take.
Great books to read and, we hope, inspire you…
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 …
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 …
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 …