THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Sarah Raven is a garden writer and teacher, probably best known for the cut flower courses she runs in Kent… at least, that is where we first heard of her.
Having always had an interest in cut flowers, we began a sideline business growing seasonal flowers for florists when we were based in Hampshire. Our first port of call was to visit Sarah Raven on one of her cut flower growing courses and get her book The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Garden Flowers for advice.
We were also given her beautiful cookbook as a present one Christmas. It, along with a book by Skye Gyngell (A Year in my Kitchen) have stayed on the shelf in the kitchen for easy reference when a tasty meal of fresh produce is needed.
Sarah’s cookbook is a beautiful treat to sit down with in winter, each vegetable being given a chapter depending on when it is in season. This also makes it an excellent beginners guide as well for those who want to learn how to prepare food they may never have come across before. This is probably the key to Sarah’s work – that she is a teacher, a go-to if you have a question, because everything is shared.
We are cooking from her book tonight – currently in the oven is baked aubergine with mozzarella – an autumn evening warmer and needed after gardening in the cold today!
Another favourite recipe? Celeriac and apple soup. Really. It’s a winter stunner.
Sarah Raven has also written about Sissinghurst. Earlier this year we visited Sissinghurst on a cold spring morning. You can read about that trip (we arrived at 6am for a wander around the white garden!) and see some pictures on this blog post – NGS Sissinghurst.
You will find mention of Sarah all through blog posts on our website – she has given us a model to base the Modern Mint blog on – one of sharing information and encouraging others to give gardening a go, whether they are growing cut flowers, harvesting fruit, sowing vegetables or preparing a meadow. We want Modern Mint to be this kind of gardening resource, to be a check-in point for you to get the confidence and courage to go outside and start (or build on) your relationship with your garden.
So do check out her website for great planting ideas – there is always a deal to be found and plenty of advice too – highly recommended! And if you want to know something about cut flowers… Sarah Raven is a good place to start.
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.