THE MODERN MINT BLOG
We have spoken of how gardening can teach us about having the confidence to fail, and we would like to continue to explore these themes. Because gardening can be the catalyst for something even stronger – the ability to be vulnerable.
Every time a designer expresses their idea to a client, they open themselves to ridicule. But this is the job of the professional designer, to express what could be. Or those people who work so hard to open up their gardens to visitors in order to raise money for charity. They are doing the same thing, expressing the ideas they have about the world. And they use this incredibly clunky method to do it, called ‘gardening’, where so much is out of their control. You wander what makes them do it this way – when they could craft a book or go to a studio and record a song, spending hours chasing perfection and making sure it is just right before anyone gets to read or hear it.
But the best work doesn’t happen that way. The best work is done be people who allow themselves to be vulnerable, who have ‘the courage to be imperfect’ as Brene Brown told us in her Ted talk (see below.)
And with gardening, you have to learn the art of imperfection. You have to learn to let go, to allow nature to take its own course. So perhaps it is easier for gardeners to produce great gardens – with a book or a recording an artist can search forever to discover the tools to get it right, but built within the very fabric of this clunky method of expression called ‘gardening’ is an out – perfection is impossible, so go for it knowing you will always come up short. It becomes a releasing technique, a move towards freedom. Maybe that is why so many artists become gardeners…?
They cannot be judged by the same parameters as within their other craft?
We hope you will embrace vulnerability, whatever it is you do – whether you create works of art, love someone, kick a football, speak up when all is quiet, or grow dahlias as gifts for your friends and the friends of friends. As Brene Brown says about the people she researched…
“…the other thing that they had in common was this: They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating… they just talked about it being necessary.”
Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
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 …