THE MODERN MINT BLOG
In 2020 I will be offering 5 talks – so if you are a Garden Club, Horticultural Society, WI, Probus group or club of some kind who needs a speaker, click on the link below to read a short document with all the details!
Alternatively, you can scroll down and read everything on this blog post.
There is an FAQ’s section included in both the download and on this page, but if you have another question that needs answering then please do get in touch with me and ask it.
I’m happy to help!
Talks Information 2020
A Speaker For Your Group
Since 2014 I have given nearly 400 talks and workshops, regularly visiting:
- Garden Clubs
- Lunch Clubs
- Beekeeping Societies
- Probus Groups
- Flower Festivals
- County Shows and more to give talks on gardening
“I don’t think I’ve ever had so many positive comments about a speaker, thank you for making my job a success.” Speaker Finder, Garden Club In Essex
I am a practical, hands-on gardener who specialises in topiary. My topiary practise takes me all over the country clipping plants from late spring to autumn.
You can view some of my work here in The Guardian.
“Just to say great talk, hopefully we will see you again when I am booking for next year.” Speaker Finder, Garden Club In Suffolk
Talks & Subjects
My current talks, on five different subjects, are:
What Do I Do With This Space: Garden Ideas From Around The World
My most popular talk, looking at ways to deal with pernicious weeds, how to stop animals eating your best plants, making great borders in small spaces and the benefits of native plants.
Diluted: How We Use Water In The Garden
Living in the driest part of the country made me question how to garden when you don’t have water. This talk looks at the problem with a lack of rainfall, or the opposite – how to deal with a garden that gets far too much.
Clippings: Topiary & Pruning Techniques
New talk for 2020. How to make topiary and why it transforms your garden. This topic is my speciality and one I have taught at lots of places around the UK.
Helping The Honeybee: The Best Plants For Bees
What actually are the best plants for bees, so you don’t waste an inch of your garden.
A Very British Garden: What Do We Actually Grow?
Imagine a British garden and its all peonies, aquilegias and foxgloves in front of a quaint cottage with a thatched roof. In this talk we look at whether this is true – is the typical British garden actually the sweet cliche of our dreams? Includes a section on No-Dig Vegetable Gardening.
What I Need From You For The Talk
I can bring with me a projector, extension cord, necessary cables and laptop.
If you can provide a table and a screen or blank wall to project onto that would be great.
As would the address of your meeting place and the time you start.
A mic of any description is a bonus but not necessary.
Talk Fee For Your Group
I charge £95 for a talk between 45-90 minutes, depending on your needs. I am happy to do a Q and A session at the end if you wish.
A concession is available for groups of 25 people or smaller.
From 2021, a small fee for travel expenses will be charged if you are based outside of Essex. However I am conscious of how hard it is to pay for speakers and will do all I can to make a talk as affordable for your group as possible, wherever you are in the country.
Payment can be made on the day in the following ways:
- BACS – details can be provided and is my preferred method of payment
- Cheque – made payable to Modern Mint
“Everyone loved your talk, your sense of humour hit the spot, besides being informative and practical. Hopefully I can get you back!” Speaker Finder, U3A
An Introduction You Can Use For The Talk
Darren is a gardener who specialises in topiary. He travels the country clipping shapes into shrubs and hedges, training wisteria and pruning fruit trees. He loves gardens full of flowers for the bees. The tools he uses in his work are sold on his gardening website – just search online for Modern Mint.
Do you bring any of the tools you have on your website?
I do. People can try them and even buy if they wish.
Do you travel anywhere?
Again, I do! I try my best to make the cost as reasonable as possible, so please let me know where you are based so I can work out how much it will cost to get to you from Chelmsford, Essex.
I’ve had a late cancellation, can you cover?
Most certainly, if I’m free. Just let me know and I will do my best to help.
Can I get a bespoke workshop for my group?
Yes, and it is great fun. Previously I have taught topiary clipping techniques and apple tree pruning, all done in someone’s garden.
Contact me to discuss how we can make this happen.
Can you write an article for our newsletter/magazine/journal/website?
I am a full member of the Garden Media Guild and prolific writer and blogger. Let me know what you need and I can let you know the cost.
Would you like me to tell other people about your talks?
Yes please, that would be incredibly kind. Thank you!
Contact Me To Discuss A Talk For Your Group
There are several ways to contact me:
T: 01245 357654
M: 077686 39388
E: Via the contact page.
Social Media? Uhmm….. no.
I may be in a garden somewhere clipping, so if I don’t pick up just leave a message and I will get back to you.
Look forward to speaking soon, please do get in touch with me if you need a talk.
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 …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …
Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …