THE MODERN MINT BLOG
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, tools, fertiliser – whilst increasing the quality of the air, the water and the land.
I have often been heard to bang on about ‘observe’, ‘pay attention’ and ‘look closely’ when talking about gardening. But these are quite meaningless really. I am sure people nod their heads and go yes, but it is a skill that needs learning, that needs practising.
And I can barely do it myself, for all those grand words!
But it is this ability, this state of mind, that allows you to garden well – by standing back, seeing what is happening and evolving in the garden, naturally, then allowing the garden to flourish as it wants. Allowing it to ‘move’ as it wants.
You become the caretaker – a Care-Taker – of the land.
I found The Garden In Motion an inspiring idea, perhaps more because it begins to put into words the way I feel about gardening, about how much you control and how much you allow things to be… which does sound weird coming from someone who makes topiary – the hard pruning of shrubs being very much about control!
But not all topiary is like this.
Truly some is about pruning in a way that improves a shrub, but so you would never think it had been touched at all…
Look how much leaf has come off, to allow light through to the bed and to keep the boxwood in place… yet the plant looks relaxed, like it is shrugging its shoulders.
As ever, this blog explores ideas I am thinking about, but not always in the sharpest or best way. It is more a notebook of where I am at, and heading. Keep coming back and you might find I can express myself better and in a more useful way to you.
Or take a look at some other topiary work I’ve been doing for clients recently…
I was asked by the European Boxwood & Topiary Society to help out with answering a common question – How to sharpen your shears? So we spent a fun day making a video, that hopefully will help you make sure you have sharp, shiny blades to do your topiary pruning with. And you can find here more examples of the topiary I make with my sharp blades.
You can get a ticket for this new talk I’m giving at the European Boxwood And Topiary Society here – TALK TICKETS It is on the 25th August at 6pm. It should be great fun and I’m very excited to be sharing some recent thoughts about topiary with people – and how it might work in a modern garden.
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