THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar11

Why Use A Topiary Artist In Your Garden?

An artist? Really? For your garden? Why exactly would you need a topiary artist?!?!?

work of a topiary artist

What A Topiary Artist Can Do For Your Garden

It can help you elevate a shrub or tree that is, perhaps, overgrown or taking light away from more precious plants in your borders, into something… Architectural. Noteworthy. A brilliant contrast to what is around it.

Perhaps a topiary artist can help sculpt a shrub into something that draws the eyes to the sky? Imagine a piece that can do that, in a garden sitting below the immense heavens of Norfolk?

topiary art

For me, you call in a topiary artist when you have a garden that needs another dimension added to it, through judicial pruning that can take the eye skywards, or allow in more light and air, or give space to a garden that is beginning to feel claustrophobic.

Is Topiary Artist A Real Job?

No.

I normally just say ‘I’m a gardener’ when asked about my job.

And I am. I garden. I just tend to do it with a pair of shears in my hands, secateurs in my pocket and a beady eye appraising the shrubs in the garden.

‘What can I do with that?’ goes through my head as I look around… come on! Let me at it!

topiary artist work

So no, topiary artist is not a real job… although I make my living from pruning, it covers a vast spectrum of work. I can be found:

  • Pruning fruit trees, roses and wisteria in winter
  • Maintaining or making hedges, shrubs and topiary pieces in spring, summer and autumn
  • Spraying nematodes and using other organic techniques to stop boxwood caterpillar eating the boxwood at a client’s house
  • Talking about gardening at clubs all through the year
  • Running workshops and teaching topiary whenever someone asks me or needs to know more about how to wield their shears

shears of an artist

So lots of different streams run into the great river that is a topiary artist.

And most importantly it is the attitude towards what you can do with a shrub, using a pair of sharp shears, not the label you are given or even the tools you use that make it art. (Although to be fair, the shears in the picture above are almost an art work in themselves, made by Tobisho-san in Japan, of blue steel and magnolia obvata.)

Do I Need A Topiary Artist Then?

Possibly, if your garden has just been planted with lots of shrubs, trees and hedges. An artist (of the topiary variety) can aid you in growing it well and cultivating these new plants towards the shapes you want them to be.

Or if your garden has a number of already developed shrubs, hedges and the like, but feels like it is closed in and all a bit lost. Like these plants have too much weight and are doing no more than adding bulk to a garden, rather than acting as counterpoints to lighter, airier plantings.

That is when you need a topiary artist. The art being that someone can come in, observe… and take responsibility to make the most of what you have.

A topiary artist turns a shrub into something that works in the garden – whether drawing the eye to it, as a piece you wish to look at in its own right, or by giving context to something else in the garden, and so improving that.

topiary art

Topiary art is just that – an art. It will change day by day, but if you have a garden that needs a little pizzazz, or love, or extra joy brought to it… you can do worse than ask a topiary artist in for a look.

See more of my work as a topiary artist here.

Or contact me to discuss visiting your garden.

Darren Topiary

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 …

READ MORE

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, …

READ MORE