THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Dec31

Best Moments of 2014 – Modern Mint

What have been the best moments of 2014 for Modern Mint? Here goes….

1) Starting the Modern Mint Shop

It was started on a whim because we wanted a way to share the products, artisans and companies we thought were fab – and it now looks like being the most exciting part of the business (as well as being capable of reaching the people out there who love the products we do.)

We are focusing on products that are unique, made with great care, and have a focus on reducing waste and lasting a long time. Meeting the people who make products like this leaves our jaws on the floor – they are weird, wonderful souls who believe wholeheartedly in what they are doing, and being around these people is inspiring – they seem to celebrate life, rather than complain about it.

Not everyone wants to pay more money for a product that they can get cheaper from the high street, but some people do – some people understand that paying that bit more supports the maker as well as the planet – and that little bit extra is worth every penny. The gentle voice of change on our high streets, on the way we make, use and recycle our products, is getting louder all the time, and we are thrilled to be a member of this choir.

Next year there will be plenty of changes and additions but if you want to see what we have right now, visit the Modern Mint shop here…

2) Organic Topiary

Learning the name and the culture of this type of contemporary topiary, as well as having several clients (wise?) receptive enough to go for it in their garden has been a real boost. We write here about organic topiary…

Cloud pruning 1

3) National Gardens Scheme, Essex

Having moved to Essex this time last year we spent early spring exploring some of the gardens in the county, and meeting some of the wonderful women who create them. We had a great time looking around and filling ourselves up with new ideas for our clients gardens…

You can see and read a little about the NGS Gardens of Essex here, here and here…

4) Ten Meadows

Our Ten Meadows project is our way of creating ten spaces in Essex that are flower rich, wildlife friendly and easy to maintain. Two meadows have already been put into motion and we can’t wait to see them begin to bloom next year. For more details on how you can get involved with a free design, check out the Ten Meadows page…

5) Discovering Sarah Kay, Poet

It was difficult to choose a fifth option. It could have been a grateful thank you to the people who have booked us to give our new talk ‘What Do I Do With This Space?’, or it could have been a note about our Chelsea Fringe project for 2014 ‘You Should Have Seen It Last Week…’

… or the clients who have made our first year in Essex such an extraordinarily fun one.

Or the people who have guest blogged for us about cut flowers… or child-friendly gardens…

Or the brilliance of David Hedges-Gower’s new lawn care book ‘Modern Lawn Care’.

But we think it is important to let yourself be influenced by people and ideas not necessarily related to gardening, at least directly, so one of our favourite moments of 2014 must be the discovery of the poet Sarah Kay. She is just so full of life you can’t help smiling, and being swept up by her energy and passion.

So below, for you, is her Ted Talk, opening with her poem ‘If I Should Have A Daughter…’

“… there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the wind in winsome, lose some. You will put the star in starting over, and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

Happy New Year everyone! Here is to your great moments for 2015!

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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