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

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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