THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar19

When Working Off A Ladder Takes Too Long

I saw this a few months back.

Not exactly sure I know what to feel about it:

  • Cutting during the growing season when birds and other wildlife are nesting.
  • Having to do this each year, with the high carbon footprint attached to it, when it may be less environmentally damaging to cut down the trees close to the cables and replant more in a better, more open space?
  • And then of course, there is the use of a freaking helicopter with a freaking rotating blade on a freaking swinging cable being arced around next to live POWER LINES!!!!!!!

I guess you either glory in man’s (and I would put money on it being a man that thought to do this) ability to conquer nature with machines.

Or you marvel at the quality of the flying and care taken by the pilot, whilst wondering if it is no more than finding a solution to a problem that could be designed away before the helicopter and the saw are even needed?

My instinct is to look closer at the latter.

For more on my topiary and pruning work, made far more gently with shears and secateurs, visit The Artisans series in the Guardian.

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

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 …

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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

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 …

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Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

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 …

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