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!

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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