THE MODERN MINT BLOG
What do I do with this space? A question clients often ask us, a question we often ask ourselves.
So it became the title of our new talk for winter 2014/2015… but to answer this question, we have realised, is a huge undertaking.
Exploring potential answers left us delving deeper and deeper into new ideas, unpacking thoughts and contemplating the words of garden philosophers, and feeling ever more entangled by the question we had set out to explore. How could such a simple question become so complex? Or as Clarice Lispector puts it in The Passion According to G.H.:
“I don’t know what to do with the horrifying freedom that can destroy me.”
And doesn’t that sum it up well – what do I do with this space? Really, you can do anything.
The art or science or whatever you want to call it is left to you, the way you think and feel and what you know and don’t know… and of course, the ‘don’t-knows’ you are willing to explore.
The talk takes in the work of people from all over the world – starting in Japan, then ending in a dream garden via Scandinavia, Spain, Uruguay, Sheffield and the kitchen of a Parisian chef. It also quotes Motehr Teresa and Jack Gilbert, just to keep the audience on its toes!
It is a fascinating question we have set ourselves and we have had a riot exploring potential answers. Please do come along to the premiere of this new garden talk on Wednesday in Chignall, 7.30pm start.
You can find all the details here on our Talks page.
We hope to see you soon, to share this discussion with us as we ask the question:
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 …