THE MODERN MINT BLOG

May14

Ryoan-ji

Modern Mint director Darren Lerigo at Ryoan-ji, Kyoto
Modern Mint director Darren Lerigo at Ryoan-ji, Kyoto

Last November the Modern Mint team went to view the gardens of Japan (and eat sushi, in vast quantities.)

This picture, at the famous Zen garden of Ryoan-ji, was taken at 7.50am on a Monday morning. Hence the privacy. There are 15 stones in the garden, but only 14 can be viewed at any one time from the platform. It is said that if you gain enlightenment the fifteenth stone will be revealed to you. We didn’t find enlightenment, but we did have to get up early, take three buses and then knock on the temple door asking to be allowed in in order to get any time alone to view the garden.

How long did we get before the masses (schoolchildren/tourists) arrived? How long did we get to spend, the only people in the world at that particular moment on that particular rainy Monday morning at the temple garden of Ryoan-ji? We got to soak in its wonderful atmosphere, completely undisturbed, for a whole eight minutes.

It was absolutely worth it.

Recommended Reading:

Around The World In 80 Gardens

Japanese Zen Gardens

Japanese Gardens: Tranquility, Simplicity, Harmony

The Gardens of Japan

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?

Sep29

New Topiary In South London Out Of Yew

Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …

READ MORE

Sep27

Topiary Teacher – Put on The Spot!

topiary teacher

Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …

READ MORE