THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jan26

Positive News – Changing The News For Good

Want to give you a heads up on a magazine we read a lot – Positive News.

They provide some wonderful articles, that are great quality and full of interesting ideas you may not have come across before. It is similar to how we feel about the writing of the Earth Friendly Gardener, that of giving voice to notions the would otherwise remain hidden.

Unlike the US administrations ‘alternative facts’, at Positive News you are told what is, in context, meaning you can then use your own brain to decide what you feel is right or wrong.

Our favourite writer at the magazine is Lucy Purdy, who consistently comes up with article topics that, upon reading them, you realise is exactly the sort of thing you wanted to read. It takes some skill (and passion) to lead your audience somewhere they felt they needed to go….

Here is an excerpt from an interview Lucy made with George Monbiot, author of Feral.

They are talking about combating loneliness and how to achieve connection. George is not saying ‘get on Twitter’, but presents us with two alternatives – making music and harvesting and creating food:

“The human spirit and desire to come together overcome almost all attempts to prevent it from happening. In early factory life, silence was imposed on the workers and so the folk tradition in England almost died because people were prevented from singing while they worked. But they found subversive ways of getting back together and strong factory communities formed and remain today. When the dictatorship in North Korea eventually ends, people there will come back together again.

Music is a really great way of facilitating and accelerating that. I think the harvesting and processing of food is greatly underestimated too. My and other families are involved in a communal apple pressing each year. We pool the apples from our trees then turn them into juice and cider. I realised that we’re reinventing thousands of years of hunting and gathering tradition. Finding and processing food together is a critical part of human existence and a great way of reconnecting people.”

How fantastic is that? To use food as a way to build communities. We have read books about places like Campodimele where the tradition is for the village to spend a day, together, creating the cherry jam that will be such a heavenly food treat for the rest of the year. Or a friend of ours at South East Essex Organic Gardeners, who visits Italy each year to help harvest olives – he links up again with old friends who also go every year, works hard,, then gets his supply of olive oil as payment.

We suggest you connect with some other, like-minded folk, by reading some Positive News.

Jan12

A Topiary Calendar – When To Prune

Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits and flowers of your …

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Jan11

The English Garden Magazine – On Our Topiary Workshop

Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …

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Nov17

Topiary Provocation Autumn 2021

This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies?