THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Dec03

Modern Mint: What We Value

Knowing what we value is a good way of setting boundaries, whether in your personal life or your business. I realised I needed to simplify things here at Modern Mint. We will have been running for 5 years (where did the time go!) in February 2019, but for the first 3 years Chloe, Stefano and I literally ran around doing everything. We were all things to all people.

And we weren’t happy.

It was exhausting!

So we stopped. Took a step back and listened to the advice we gave others who asked what it was like to run a business for yourself. We worked out what we valued and then said what we would and would not do. Since then, the work we have mad has been better, we have had much more fun and been a lot less stressed.

We know where we stand. So do clients. And it turns out that everything works out, because people are far better at adapting and problem solving than we could ever realise when caught up in the madness of trying to get things done.

Go read more about what we value in our ‘About Us‘ page.

Thrill yourself by checking out the joyful work we now do – there are more photos in this Guardian article than you’d get in a spread with Hello Magazine!

And I shall now recap below what exactly we cherish, what exactly we are happy to do… and not do. Just so you know.

What We Value At Modern Mint

Enhance life in the garden. Plant trees to attract birds, grow flowers that provide for bees, have water for pond life and improve soil for worms. That is a simplification of the process, yes, but we want to help you make gardens that improve life all the way down the food chain.

Use simple tools that work. Check out something like our Japanese secateurs.

Sell products that are not ‘throw-away’ items, but potentially heirloom pieces. Our mark on the earth should be light.

Offer consultancy, not design. I can’t draw. I don’t want to sit on a computer all day (hence we don’t check out social media much). I want to be outside gardening, or walking around a garden with you working out how to make your garden suit your life. Contact me if you think a great value garden consultancy will help you.

Plant gardens for people who need an experienced plantsman. Maintain gardens if you have an interesting project and it is close to where I live in Essex. Prune shrubs, small trees, fruit and topiary to give your garden a real face lift. Happy to speak to you about new topiary projects too.

Darren Guardian Topiary

Speak anywhere, to anyone. I offer a number of garden talks and love to visit new clubs, whether they are WI’s, charities, U3A’s or whomever. It may not be the best paid use of my time, but I feel gathering a community of people who are interested in gardening, together in a room, then sharing your passion with them is just the best way to make sure people want to go out into their garden and make the best of it.

I try to make my talks fun, interesting and packed with tips and advice for a gardener of any expertise. I may even try and provoke, on the odd days, to get people questioning their current practises! I am currently booking into 2020 so do get in touch, even if you are based a long way from me in Essex – I will do my best to work with you so that we get a speaker fee together that suits us both.

See my garden talks here.

These are simple boundaries to run our business by, but we feel the value we can give lays in being as clear as possible in what do offer, and what we don’t. Speak soon I hope and happy gardening!

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

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 …

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