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

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.

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 …

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