THE MODERN MINT BLOG
In Gardens Illustrated magazine a few issues back, they had an interview with Midori Shintani, the Head Gardener of Tokachi Millenium Forest. (You can find photos of the work done by designer Dan Pearson in the Millenium Forest here, at his website.)
She told the story of how she came to be there with great eloquence. She had learned the tea ceremony, ikebana and calligraphy before studying horticulture – “I enjoyed the course, but I still did not know what I should become… for 11 years I struggled to choose my path.”
This is the case with a lot of people, and sometimes trying to second guess what you want to be becomes a ridiculous merry-go-round that is hard to get off from. We look at our own path from labourer to playwright to stand-up comedian to gardener and… well, who would have guessed life would take us in such a direction? And who is to know where it goes next?
A lot of the places Midori Shintani worked had creative undertones (a design office, an art gallery) and you see this a lot in people who eventually end up gardening – it is work that allows for independent thought, so offers that crucial edge, that free-form outlet for your dreams and passions that other vocations may not.
After time in Sweden working at a garden she arrived back to Japan and had to train intensively – “I was in my 30’s so I needed to get the experience more quickly.”
She then ended up working at the Millenium Forest, as head gardener. Dan Pearson speaks highly of her, as a perfect fit for the garden. She herself seems to believe she has finally come home – “This really is the place where I can fully be myself.”
But the moment we loved most from the interview was what she said about how the garden is managed.
“This garden is a bridge between humans and nature. We use minimum tools, minimum management, but maximum vision. We have a mission to introduce a new garden movement. The potential is exciting.”
We highlighted the words that struck us so hard – we use minimum tools, minimum management. This is a beautiful thought, and if acted out well it is a philosophy of gardening that suits modern life – a sensitive hand to deal with nature, as little fuss as possible over what you use to do it.
We hope Midori Shintani will speak more about her way of gardening in the future. It is a way we feel a strong urge to follow.
Lovely to see one of our favourite companies trending on the BBC today…. Hiut Denim Jeans. Not only do they make brilliant jeans, but they have been a massive inspiration to us. Their philosophy, to make the best jeans they can, not the most jeans they can, reminds us all the time that at Modern Mint, it is okay not to sell the same tools and products as the garden centres. Because we don’t like those tools. We like these tools…. These tools are the ones that will last you, that are sharp and strong yet light, and will be …
Next year the Garden Museum will be running a brilliant day out visiting traditional and contemporary topiary gardens in Kent and Sussex. Full details can be found here, for what promises to be a fantastic time seeing gardens! First stop on the trip will be to meet us and Charlotte Molesworth, in her garden, where will be demonstrating some topiary techniques and offering some of the best tools available for sale. Charlotte’s garden is an extraordinary place for wildlife, so this is not to be missed! Lunch will then be taken at the Walled Garden, where you will be able …
This is the garden of our friend and topiary mentor Charlotte Moelsworth. To read more about it you can buy a copy of Country Living Magazine (December 2017 edition) and see the amazing photographs of the garden on an icy, cold morning. The shapes are truly stunning! Or you can check out more about Charlotte Molesworth here. If you do get to see the Country Living Magazine, and it inspires you to have yourself a little topiary in the garden – contact us to arrange a visit. Or buy some shears (the same shears both I and Charlotte use) and …