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…
Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …
Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …
Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.