THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Why I Started Modern Mint
I always loved working outside and especially working with trees. I still get a thrill, even now, when planting them.
But it was only in 2014 when I moved from Hampshire to Essex that I began to shape and express the values I thought important enough to garden by – the ‘no chemicals’ rule, the recycling of resources, the increasing of life…
My move to garden here in Essex, in the driest part of the UK, became the perfect opportunity to start again and share these ideas with people interested in the spaces and landscapes they live in.
Modern Mint. The Place For Tools, Topiary & Talks
Now I spend my time:
Making and maintaining topiary all over the UK, with the brilliant Charlotte Molesworth.
You may have seen some of this work in The Guardian, Country Living Magazine, or perhaps on the television programme ‘All Gardens Great & Small’?
Speaking to garden clubs, WI’s, U3A’s, at fairs, shows, in theatres and for groups of people who want to know more about gardening.
I opened for Mary Berry at Blenheim Palace once. Disappointingly, she didn’t give away any secret tips for making scones….
Selling tools, the same ones I use in the garden. They are a small selection, but embody the values of Modern Mint.
“I am all over your site like a rash, just realised I cannot live another moment without a copper trowel…” Helen
What We Believe At Modern Mint
The name Modern Mint was decided upon after, well, not that much deliberation really. I wanted to look at gardening in a contemporary way, trying to answer questions about how our space can be used in the life as we know it. So I chose the word Modern. Then I added the ‘Mint’ because I wanted to garden in a fresh way, using materials that might not have been thought about or plants that needed a new lease of life and better press.
What I soon realised is that this need for fresh, contemporary garden thinking doesn’t quite add up. Garden trends and changes happen slowly, much like the rhythm of growing a garden. The garden ideas I was drawn to in my reading and research were actually, when you took a step back, classic ones. Techniques used by just about every gardener who has ever grown anything, ever.
So this began to influence our philosophy again – meaning at Modern Mint, work in the garden is done without chemicals.
Setting this rule means the garden will always be increasing life.
A garden should help the honeybee.
Without the bees, the choice of tasty organic vegetables and fruit would be a lot slimmer. So best to have them in mind when planting!
A clients garden is a carbon sink.
We help plant trees and make compost for mulching the flower borders and any bare soil.
After all, a good mulch not only reduces weeding (hurrah!) but keeps carbon in the ground, which in turn improves the soil, which in turn helps you grow healthier plants.
And if all of this work in the garden can be done using well-made, beautifully balanced and sharp tools….
Then life does not get much better.
Who Wrote This? Who Is Modern Mint?
I wrote this, me, Darren.
The one who gives the talks, clips the topiary and uses the tools you can buy.
This is me in the photo below. I smile a lot, and regret not doing up that extra button when this particular photo was taken….
Still, too late to worry much about that now…
If you want to ask a question about any of our products, find out more about a talk or get some topiary clipped in your garden, feel free to get in touch.
Otherwise, enjoy the blog (I also write that and am a member of the Garden Media Guild) and have some long, happy, happy days in the garden!
“We checked out Modern Mint, and we would honestly buy everything on there if we could.” Aleksa
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
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 …
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, …