THE MODERN MINT BLOG
The perfect garden (or even worse, the perfect lawn!) is almost a badge of honour, something to be achieved and then shown off like a trophy on the mantelpiece. This search for perfection happens often in our lives – we seek the perfect word, the perfect skin, the perfect cup of tea.
But the perfect garden is surely unachievable, if by perfect we mean ‘nothing out of place.’ Flawless. There will surely always be a corner that you haven’t had time to ‘tidy’ or ‘clean’… unless resources are seemingly unlimited…
But what this does (beautiful as the space is) is move itself further away from perfection by trying too hard… the mind, the eye, the thought process becomes accustomed to this level of ‘flawlessness’ and then seeks it constantly, competing almost to capture what lurks beyond the nth degree… (and good luck getting there…)
“Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?”
Brazilian author Clarice Lispector
If the perfect (flawless, nothing out of place) garden is unachievable, what then do we aim for?
By all means set high standards. Strive to achieve them. But perfection is about more than control – the perfect garden is one where simple things are done well, you don’t have to make excuses or claim ‘you should have it seen it last week…’ and the plants grow well and can be enjoyed…
“Don’t forget, that this is the season for strawberries. Yes.”
Clarice Lispector (who obviously knew what made the perfect garden.)
(For a few more ideas on the perfect garden, check out these books – the first is the designer Fernando Caruncho…)
Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …
Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …
Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.