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…
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022