Newsletter No.22: March 2012

March Newsletter
Time tears on. Suddenly we’re at the end of the bare root season – we are taking our last orders for trees tomorrow (Friday).

Thanks to Sarah Raven we have been awash with enquiries about wildflower seed and soon – hopefully! – our meadow course, which is very exciting.

Less obviously we are also starting to sell decent numbers of preplanted coir rolls and mats for ponds, which I’m really pleased about. It’s always nice when something clicks and suddenly one of our best products starts flying off the shelves. If you don’t know about these chaps have a look at them on the website – they’re gorgeous!

I’m at Ecobuild next week on our stand and speaking too – do pop by if you’re at the show.

New Products

We’re now selling everything you need to make your own wildflower roof under – er – the same roof. We’re now offering plants and seeds, substrate, geotextiles and, through the Green Roof Consultancy, advice. We’re putting a wildflower roof on our new house, but on an altogether more modest scale I spent what seemed like hundreds of hours last month researching and building a beautiful orange shed with green roof. This pretty minor project confirmed in my own mind how fab groofs can be, but also how difficult it is knowing where to start and where to go to find the right kit.

Seed Testing
One of the reasons why people can find growing wildflowers from seed difficult is because the seed they have isn’t viable. It could be old or badly stored, for example. We’ve just become the first retailer in the UK to introduce random testing of our mixes to give peace of mind. We’re also offering commercial buyers the option of having their orders pretested as well.

Homes for Wildlife
As we await builders’ quotes for our new house I have been busy putting up houses for everyone else around our site. Most of the birdboxes seem occupied already, although we’re waiting for barn owls and, on a more modest scale, solitary bees.

Grasses
One of the odder features of the world’s current enthusiasm for wildflowers is that it doesn’t extend to grasses. Which is rather peculiar. Some of our prettiest native plants are grasses, and they stay pretty all summer long. They’re also very helpful from an ecological point of view. What’s not to like about them? I suppose folk are nervous about grasses taking over their wildflowers, but it’s easy to select suitably retiring species and to regulate them.