THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul29

Scything

We at Modern Mint had a lesson in scything the other day when visiting Waltham Place.

Here are 9 things we learnt…

1) It is normal to scythe without your shoes on (it is near impossible to cut your own foot, though very easy to cut your hand when cleaning or sharpening the blade…!)

2) English scythes have curves, Austrian scythes less so, and Eastern European scythes are straight. There are also lightweight scythes from the USA made of aluminium. These seemed to divide opinion between love and hate.

3) You know you are scything well when you hear a swuuushh… swuuushh… swuuushh… it is the most beautiful sound. Not that we heard it much when we were scything…

4) Scything is on the increase, with the factory in Austria that makes them struggling to keep up with demand.

5) You should not walk on the meadow before it has been cut – the scythe is used to create a pathway into the field for you to walk on. In Austria a hay field is treated with great reverence – it is said that if the crown jewels were placed in the middle of a hay field, an Austrian would not take them because they would not step onto the uncut meadow.

Of course, if they are that keen on scything, they may cut themselves a path towards it…

5) It is 70% technique and 30% grunt.

6) A great resource for purchasing scythes is here at The Scythe Shop. And you can learn a lot about scything by going here to the website of the Scythe Association.

7) The people who we met on the scything course were people who normally use strimmers and are getting sick of them. They mush up all the grass, are heavy on the arms and back, cost money to buy and the cord takes time from your day when you have to stop and fiddle about replacing it.

8) A good scyther can mow an acre of field a day. That includes clearing it up to!

9) It is better to cut grass when it is wet – so work can start earlier in the morning than with a mower, and because it is quiet can be done later at night.

How do we think Scything make be of use?

Savings on fuel and benefits to health are the obvious ones, but we think the most important reason to embrace scything is that it is easier to store the equipment. A small London garden may have a lawn, in which case it will also need a mower and a shed to keep that mower in.

Whereas a scythe can be placed on the wall (as we wrote about in My Garden) or even kept inside. It becomes an ornamental feature, as well as a useful one. Our favourite kind of product.

We are thinking about offering a scything service for the small lawns of London – does anyone think they would be interested? Email us or tweet to let us know your thoughts about scything!


Jun14

The Telegraph Wrote About My Topiary Work Yesterday

If you have a subscription, you can check out an article about bespoke ideas for your garden in the Telegraph. There are some great crafts people there, so check it out. Click Here To See The Article About my Topiary Work In The Telegraph

Jun06

Lockdown Thinking, Changes A-Coming…

Topiary Modern Mint

Lockdown has given me a chance to look through old notebooks and begin, gently, to piece together some sort of narrative about Modern Mint and how it has grown over the last six years. And it has changed massively in that time! Modern Mint Now, June Lockdown 2020 I currently make and maintain topiary all over the UK for clients who love well-pruned hedges and sculptures. I love this job – it is a beautiful art. In the winter I prune wisteria, roses and fruit trees in orchards. Much colder, shorter work days… but equally satisfying work. I give talks …

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Jun06

The Garden In Motion

During lockdown I went through a number of old notebooks. I found a note about Gilles Clement and The Garden In Motion – Le Jardin En Mouvement. Underneath my note I had written: “To be researched more! Something to definitely think over!” Now, five years later I have looked again… and am thrilled by this idea. The Garden In Motion is about taking a piece of unused land, and then as the gardener you make choices to do ‘as much as possible for the land and as little as possible against’ it. You are talking about limited input – watering, …

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