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.”
Below are a few pointers on when you need to think about your topiary and hedges this year, so you can make sure you clip at the best time and not waste any effort doing work you don’t need to do… January & February Roses, fruit trees and wisteria is where the focus lies. Yes, it is cold and the work can be unpleasant because you are often stood on a ladder with your secateurs, barely moving enough to warm the body, but get these jobs done well, with care, and you can enjoy the fruits and flowers of your …
Last September when I and topiary artist (and mentor) Charlotte Molesworth ran a weekend of topiary masterclasses we had a visit from the garden writer Non Morris. You can read more about Non and her garden design work and writings here. She has written a lovely article for the February 2022 edition of The English Garden Magazine about her afternoon working with us and learning about topiary – I’m really thrilled by the piece, because she mentions not just a little of the wonderful history of Balmoral Cottage and how the garden grew, but also shares a little of how …
This Autumn I have presented another ‘Topiary Provocation’ to keen gardeners and designers. If you want to know more about topiary, the report on what we discussed and where modern topiary is going can be read by clicking the link below: Topiary Provocation Report Autumn 2021 This report is free to post on your own website or blog, just credit Modern Mint, and don’t change anything within it. Alternatively you can just share it with keen friends… or enemies?