THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Oct21

Mother Teresa

An unusual blog post today as we wanted to write about Mother Teresa. Recently we have been reading the book No Greater Love

…and found ourselves making lots of notes from it. Though not strictly a gardening book we share with you below some of the ideas Mother Teresa has written in the book, and (hopefully) find in her words a tenuous link to gardening by the end.

What made us pick up this book and start reading?

It is Autumn, a time for dreaming and reflection. We were searching for something calm and ordered to help influence our own mind, in order to work out what we will be trying to achieve at Modern Mint for next year. Perhaps a few more meadows… or a few more garden talks… did it work? Yes it did. Just take a look at the notes below and allow your mind to find its poise….

No Greater Love by Mother Teresa
“Always be faithful in little things, for in them our strength lies. To God nothing is little.”

“Do not pursue spectacular deeds. We must deliberately renounce all desires to see the fruit of our labour, doing all we can as best as we can, leaving the rest in the hands of God. What matters is the gift of your self, the degree of love that you put into each one of your actions.”

“If you’re discouraged, it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about peoples opinions. Be humble and you will never be disturbed. The lord has willed me here where I am. He will offer a solution.”

“If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

“In the work we have to do it does not matter how small and humble it may be, make it Christ’s love in action.”

“However beautiful the work is, be detached from it, even ready to give it up. The work is not yours; they have been given to you for your use, for the glory of God.”

“Spend your time in prayer. If you pray you will have faith, and if you have faith you will naturally want to serve…. the fruit of love is service… the fruit of service is peace. All of us should work for peace.”

“Riches, both material and spiritual, can choke you if you do not use them fairly. For not even God can put anything in a heart that is already full. One day there springs up the desire for money and for all that money can provide – the superfluous, luxury in eating, luxury in dressing, trifles. Needs increase because one thing calls for another. The result is uncontrollable dissatisfaction. Let us remain as empty as possible so that God can fill us up.”

I think we were touched by these passages – they seem to all connect with the idea of being humble, and just doing your work with honesty and love. Just do your work. This is a great attitude to take to weeding, especially when there is much weeding to be done. Or planting a tree – just plant your tree, and do it knowing it will not be you who truly enjoys its stature and maturity – but you will, in this moment, of planting, do it with great love. Fabulous way of looking at the world, and one that finds its partner in tending a garden.

We are off planting today – and no matter how wet, we are going to enjoy every moment of it!

You can buy this book by Mother Teresa here at Amazon – No Greater Love.

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 …

READ MORE

Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

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 …

READ MORE

Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

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 …

READ MORE