Category Archives: Modernism for the garden

Vertical gardens: DIY panels

Vertical gardens have been around for decades in Modernist landscaping. Now you can bring them to your own home with these vertical garden DIY panels by Flora Grubb. I love succulents, and these installations are modern and beautiful.

You would have to ensure you have the right plants for your climate, and the right wall, but given a bit of thought I am sure different plants would be very successful.

And if you’re very crafty, you may be able to build the wall system at home from scratch.

Two new modern pots

RB and I were delighted to finally find two pots we love for which we have had our eyes peeled for months. The first is for three giant phalaenopsis orchids, and the second is for the Acer palmatum ‘beni kawa’ we received as a house-warming gift (thanks mom and Richard!). The pots were found at the amazing Absolute Flowers in Maida Vale, and at £60/£100 were relatively reasonable compared to their other gorgeous but pricey merchandise.

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Phaidon contemporary garden book

Phaidon, perhaps my favourite publisher, has recently come out with a great little modern garden design book, aptly named The Contemporary Garden.

It catalogues 100 gardens from the 1920’s to the present day, moves through early works such as David Hosack’s Rockefeller Center Roof Garden (1933) to today’s conceptual creations such as Tony Heywood’s Split (2003), and spans the globe covering leading designers such as Roberto Burle-Marx (Brazil), Tadao Ando (Japan), Adriaan Geuze (Netherlands), and Fernando Caruncho (Spain).

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Moss graffiti art

The gals at el&abe have created beautiful moss art that slots somewhere in the very small patch between nature and urbanity. This moss ‘graffiti’ manages to be arrestingly beautiful and thought-provoking. I just love it.

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Bertoia chairs for the garden

Not all garden furniture has to be expensive, and RB and I particularly love a good thrift. Although you have to be armed with bags of patience, eBay does occassionally throw up a few winners. We recently picked up four second hand Harry Bertoia wire chairs for the sum total of £80.

In Bertoia’s words, “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.”

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The candle holder in the foreground was a gift by a Danish friend, and was designed by architect Mogens Lassen.

Modern with a capital M

It would perhaps be fair to generalise at first glance that this blog has kicked off with a bit more of a cottage gardener bent than the Modern (with a capital em) gardener ethos that RB and I set up the retail business under. In fact, the blog and the online shop seem almost unrelated so far.

So why The Modern Gardener? Certainly the ‘seed’ influence comes from architecture and design, and the love of the Modernist period. That is not to say we walk into a beautiful cottage garden and turn our noses up, on the contrary, who could fail to lose their breath in a stunning naturalistic garden overflowing with colour?

Nor does Modern necessarily mean minimalist or retro (although it can often feel that way). I think the idea can be best summarised by a few Modernism heroes:

“Less is more” Mies van der Rohe
“Form ever follows function” Louis Sullivan
“The house is a machine for living in” Le Corbusier
“Ornament is excrement” Adolph Loos

Therefore what guides us is an aesthetic grounded in purpose and simplicity, which hopefully is reflected in the product range as well as how we operate in our daily lives. And with a little luck the influence won’t be strictly aesthetic, but also an approach to life – our aim to garden organically and to compost all our compostables also follows the logic of Modern, sensible thinking, in contrast to decadent waste and disregard for future generations.