THE MODERN MINT BLOG
“What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
This is the best advice we can give to anyone starting there first garden – don’t worry if it is a mess.
It is so easy, when you move into a new house and suddenly have all this space to deal with (space that doesn’t stand still and let you catch up with it!) to begin planning for beautiful lawns, lots of roses, or a style that is easy to maintain.
Don’t move too fast. Don’t seek the ultimate perfection on day one.
Your job is to watch this landscape, let it exist with you and find out if you are going to be suited… and if you aren’t, if you have taken the time and found out a little more of who you are and why you are here… you may be better prepared in finding a way to get by together.
It may look a mess to begin with, but with time and a more relaxed attitude to the garden, you will learn a lot about yourself in the process.
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 …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …
Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …