THE MODERN MINT BLOG
I get asked this a lot.
“Why do young people not garden? How come we cannot get younger people to come and inject new life into our garden club?”
I believe the answer is a simple one.
They don’t have the space. Houses are getting smaller, land per square metre is expensive and most new developments seem to put more and more living spaces into land that use to be used as a garden.
Learning to garden is about being practical. Try something, see what works, fail, try again the next season. If you don’t have the space, you will never get the chance to try. This for me is the biggest and simplest reason for young people not getting into gardening.
They have no gardens to practise on.
Why are the All Blacks such a good rugby side? Because their is a history of the game drenched into the Kiwi culture. Space is made for it (there is a lot of land to use after all!) and each generation passes on its passion for the game. This constant wave of rugby understanding (whether good or bad) gets the game into he conscious and subconscious minds of the young. They know rugby, whether they eventually like it or not.
Why do so many children play with iPhones or other mobiles? Because every single parent has one, and uses it throughout the day. It once again diffuses its culture into the minds of those who are learning and growing.
Growing up, we had what I would consider to be an average garden for most people. Space to kick a football around, climb the apple tree, play with the dog. Now a garden that size would be considered enormous, on newer estates.
I really found my gardening skills grew, as did my passion, when I became an apprentice gardener to a lad who gardened 30 acres of land and had to grow vegetables, fruits in the orchard, maintain herbaceous borders, mow lawns and generally make sure the estate was looking great.
The space was there, as was the sheer weight of different skills needed, that forced me to get better at gardening. I could afford to test things out (plants, techniques, timings of jobs) knowing I had the resources and help around me to make it better if it really didn’t work out. I learnt a lot, fast. I had the space to grow into the challenge.
My passion grew as my skills are forced to.
People can certainly love gardening, watching it on the TV or seeing inspiring programmes on Youtube…
(Just check out the Luis Barragan section from around 9 minutes or so in….)
But when those people only have a window box to garden in, how can they really gain the skills they need to transform the people around them? Or the next generation?
We are eroding our gardening culture because the space we have is not allowing people to learn what they need to learn, on the job, for better or worse.
Make our gardens a space we can garden in, with a variety of plants and elements, and you will see people garden and grow their passion.
Then you will see an influx in young people going to garden clubs, because they will be hungry to know more.
Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …
Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …
Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.