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Wonderful Wild Flower Seedball Gifts at The English Country Garden Festival 2019

Gardens, Events Coombe TrenchardSarah Marsh1 Comment
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We’re thrilled to have partnered with Seed Ball for this years English Country Garden Festival - and the first 20 visitors through our gates on both Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June will be gifted one of their new products - the seedball match box set, containing a bee friendly mix of wild flower seeds.

As passionate wildflower growers, wild life lovers, and bee keepers at Coombe Trenchard, we were excited to connect with Seed Ball via the power of social media - and we have since fallen in love with their ethos and their product range.

Scroll down to discover more about this talented little London based company - that we’ve come to believe in, would like to support, and we look forward to seeing them continue to grow.

I caught up with Emily Lambert, Co-Founder of Seed Ball earlier this week…

Tell us about Seed Balls – what is it that you do and whereabouts are you based?

We’re based in North London near Finsbury Park, and we manufacture wildflower seed balls – balls of clay, peat-free compost, chilli powder and native wildflower seeds – the idea being to protect the seeds as much as possible pre germination from birds and insects and during early growth from slugs and snails.

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When was the business founded and by whom?

Myself and Ana Attlee founded the business in 2011 – we were conservation scientists at Aberdeen University (I was finishing my PhD and Ana was already working as a Post Doc following her PhD).

What inspired you to set up the business, and what did you do prior to that?

We wanted to do more to have a direct impact on conservation, and were very aware of the declining populations of British pollinator species. We wanted to find a way to inspire and help people to make better use of their gardens and outdoor spaces to grow bee and butterfly friendly flowers. We knew that the combined area of all of our gardens is bigger than the combined area of the UK nature reserves – so the potential to help was massive!

 Tell us about your current product range?

We currently have approximately 13 different wildflower seed mixes and single species varieties (plus a couple of salad and herb options too) packaged in British made tins (made with the help of a solar farm on the factory roof!). And we also this year have launched a cute little matchbox for wedding and party favours, or sweet little giveaways that can be branded for any occasion.

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What is your personal favourite Seed Ball mix?

My total favourite is the Bat Mix – created in collaboration with scientist at the Natural History Museum it has evening scented plants to attract insects for bats to eat, helping to support our garden bats!

Where can your products be found – can you share some of your stockists and mail order opportunities?

We sell mostly through our own website www.seedball.co.uk, but our products can also be found at Kew Gardens, Duchy Of Cornwall Nursery, Waitrose online garden shop, and about 300 other gift shops and garden centres across the country.

What would you say is completely unique to Seed balls, compared with other similar products out there?

I think mainly that our company mission is to help increase bee and butterfly numbers, that we’re founded by conservation scientists (also we’re a non-profit company) and that any school or community group anywhere in the country can have free oddballs (funny shaped balls not round enough to sell but that work just as well). We also want to help raise awareness and inspire people to do more for wildlife on their doorstep. So our company goal is not profit, it’s conservation impact.

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What’s next for Seed Balls – what are your hopes for the business in the next year?

We’re hoping to build more collaborations with other conservation organisations – we already work with Plantlife, but we’re keen to work more closely with more such as the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Butterfly Conservation and the Wildlife Trusts. We’ve also started to collaborate with a team of researchers at Imperial College London with a hope to start examining the relationships between our different wildflower mixes and pollinator visitation rates.

In terms of products we’re also hoping to launch some new packaging options for the seed balls and a make your own seed ball kit! We also trailed a vlog series last summer which had an amazing response which we very much want to start again.

 What do you love most about your job? Working with the most brilliant team of people and having the most fabulous supporters – Seedball really is a family! And a family where everyone is equally motivated to help british wildlife.

Pictured: Mika (left) Seed Ball Production Team Manager, Emma (centre) Seed Ball Co Founder & Ana, (right) Seed Ball Co Founder at an award ceremony in April 2019 where they won The Honest John's best gift idea under £20.

Pictured: Mika (left) Seed Ball Production Team Manager, Emma (centre) Seed Ball Co Founder & Ana, (right) Seed Ball Co Founder at an award ceremony in April 2019 where they won The Honest John's best gift idea under £20.

Our thanks to Emma, Ana and all of the team at Seed Ball for working with us and providing a selection of their bee mix seed balls for us to showcase and share at this years festival.

We are sure the early bird visitors to the festival each day will love their free Seed Ball gift boxes included within our beautifully branded cotton tote bags. They certainly make sweet gifts and giveaways - just perfect for wedding and event favours.

We will also have Seed Ball packets containing 30 of the Bee Mix balls available for our festival visitors to explore and buy, as part of Gary our Bee Keepers stand this weekend.

Gary will also be talking about looking after bees, his bee keeping courses, as well as selling bees wax polish, candles and our very own Coombe Trenchard honey too!

So here’s to a great festival 2019.

I hope to see many new and familiar faces joining us for our 8th year of the show. With fine weather forecast we look forward to opening our gates in celebration of our beautiful English Summer.

Sarah x

 

A chat with the Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Gardens, Events Coombe TrenchardSarah MarshComment
Front cover image of the March & April issue of Dartmoor Magazine

Front cover image of the March & April issue of Dartmoor Magazine

Supporting local independant enterprise - a catch up with the Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

I’m pleased to confirm that the Dartmoor Magazine will be joining our local exhibitor panel at Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival this year on the 1st and 2nd of June.

Editor Sue Viccars has kindly included a feature about our Garden Festival in the Spring issue of Dartmoor Magazine, which is out now.

Always one for returning the favour, supporting independent enterprise in this beautiful part of Devon - todays blog post shares afew questions I put to Sue about her role as Editor, and what readers of the Dartmoor Magazine can expect from this lovely local publication.

Sue Viccars - Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Sue Viccars - Editor of Dartmoor Magazine

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be editor of Dartmoor Magazine.

A. I studied geography and archaeology at Exeter University, then took up a job with a publishing company in London for a brief spell before managing to move back to Devon (always the plan!).  After 20 years as a commissioning editor with David & Charles Publishers I went freelance in 2000, and now work as an editor (books as well as Dartmoor Magazine), author and photographer, specializing in writing walking books all over the South West, with particular reference to Dartmoor and Exmoor. I have been editor of Dartmoor Magazine since 2008, and joint owner of the business with my brother since 2013.

Q. What do you most enjoy about your role as editor?

 A. It’s really great to ‘have to’ get properly immersed in every aspect of somewhere as special as Dartmoor! I commission the magazine, and decide what should be published in each issue. I have regular meetings with my contributors, who are a great bunch of people and who all have a real interest in this remarkable part of the country.

I’m lucky to be able to work from home too, and have a genuine excuse to get out on the moor as often as I do. It’s also great that my other work – writing walking books – often doubles up with whatever I might be doing for the magazine: for example, photos I take when out and about can be used for a number of different purposes. 

Q. How long has Dartmoor Magazine been established, and what would you say is unique and special to the publication?

 A. The magazine was started in 1985, so it’s coming up to its 34th birthday! It's an unusual publication in that it’s not advertorially led, by which I mean that the articles aren’t dictated by the fact that we may or not be able to sell advertising space to support them.

It’s not a lifestyle magazine – there are not features on fashion, or cars, or interior design, for example. All the articles are about Dartmoor ‘proper’ – the photography is fantastic – and the editorial pages take pride of place (as opposed to having to wade through pages of advertising before you can get to something to read). It has a healthy and very devoted following, many of whom have bought every issue published since 1985.

Q. How many issues to you produce a year?

A. Four - spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Q. Where can our readers get hold of a copy of the magazine?

 A. Anyone interested can buy a copy of the magazine at one of our 80+ sales outlets across and around the moor, as well as at some of the major supermarkets in the vicinity.

Subscriptions and single copies can also be purchased via the website www.dartmoormagazine.co.uk or by calling us on (01647) 441174.

 Q. In this ever-changing digital age how do you feel about print?

 A. I still think there’s a place for print – curling up on the sofa with an iPad isn't quite the same as doing the same with a good quality magazine or book and having a good read!

 Q. Tell us about the spring edition of the magazine – what can readers look forward to?

 A. This spring’s issue is, as always, packed to the gunnels. We’ve got a fantastically dramatic front cover image of swaling – burning off the gorse on the moor, which is done in early spring – and an excellent article which discusses the pros and cons of the practice (it’s quite controversial).

The well-known Dartmoor photographer Chris Chapman interviews local character Tich Scott; wildlife presenter Nick Baker looks at the way Dartmoor’s hedges are treated at this time of year; and we’ve got two new series, one on Dartmoor’s village shops, and the other a beautiful photographic study of a particular hill or tor.

Then there’s a look at the local arts scene, at moorland flowers, local bunkhouses, two great walks, the latest news, and diary… there’s masses to interest everyone.

The contents page - Dartmoor Magazine - March/April 2019

The contents page - Dartmoor Magazine - March/April 2019

Q. If you had to choose a favourite time of year when it comes to the collation of the magazine and its content – what would you choose and why?

A. I don’t really have a favourite time. When you work as closely with the moor and with the changing seasons as I have to (when editing a quarterly magazine) you realise that every season has its own particular beauty. I suppose I could say that I prefer the ‘out of season’ times, when the moor is less busy – but there are always places to go, even in the height of the summer, where you will have the moor to yourself. 

Q. We are thrilled to be welcoming Dartmoor Magazine to our English Country Garden Festival on 1st and 2nd of June this year. What are you most looking forward to about the festival and fair season, and what will visitors to the festival be able to discover at your stall?

 A. It’s just the most beautiful place to spend a couple of days – especially in an English summer!

I enjoy meeting subscribers (and potential subscribers) throughout the summer show season, and it’s a good way of getting feedback about how people feel about the magazine.

On the stand we will also have a range of southwest walking books – ones I have written or edited – including my most recent, an extended and revised edition of The Two Moors Way: Devon’s Coast to Coast walk. We’ll also have Dartmoor cards and a good selection of books written by local Dartmoor authors. 

The Terrace in Summer at Coombe Trenchard

The Terrace in Summer at Coombe Trenchard

Our thanks to Sue for supporting us and for answering these questions.

If you would like to contact Sue about the Dartmoor Magazine or her other written works, do feel free to email her. editor@dartmoormagazine.co.uk

With just under 3 months to go until our English Country Garden Festival takes place for the 8th year, I shall be sharing more interviews and blog posts highlighting some of the terrific supporters and exhibitors that you can expect to find at this years event over the coming weeks.

Here’s to those warmer days, and to a great English Country Garden summer.

Sarah x

A look back at this years English Country Garden Festival

Events Coombe Trenchard, GardensSarah MarshComment
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A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone that came along and supported our much loved English Country Garden Festival on 2nd and 3rd of June this year

From the exhibitors and stall holders, to the volunteers and charities including Childrens Hospice South West, our media sponsors, Devon Life, and our hard working in-house team and family - all of whom helped us to put on a great event.

Good old fashioned community spirit was flying high throughout the weekend, and I am thrilled to share that the English Country Garden Festival 2018 was a terrific success.

Visitors numbers were up significantly this year, with over 2,500 people through the gates. 

The weather was most kind, our marketing activity made a real impact, and our exciting rebranding was very well received - everyone loved to see Jasper stealing the show on our new event logo designed by Laura of Mingo Mingo Studio.

Lorna and I continue to pay particular attention to the selection of high quality exhibitors, and our visitors remain delighted by what they find when they come along.

It is incredibly important to us that the festival provides a special, memorable, vibrant, high quality experience throughout - with a growing number of repeat visitors year on year, so we always aim to have a 30% range of new exhibitors to the Festival each year.

Our mission is to keep the Garden Festival fresh, interesting and supportive of local enterprise as the event celebrates some of the regions best independent producers, arts, crafts, and growers.

Our return visitor numbers are growing in our 7th year of the festival - and we're told how much they love the event from it's location, to the stalls, the atmosphere and the food.  Several have even declared it a calendar highlight for them, and the word is spreading, so we will continue with our quest to deliver an event that ticks the boxes and is thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The media support we enjoy from Devon Life and Cornwall Life magazines is greatly appreciated - did you see our two page editorial feature together with an exclusive 2 for 1 voucher this year? Our thanks to Andy Cooper and Catherine Courtenay particularly for the editorial and social media support they kindly provide.

This year for the first time, we introduced the ‘return for free on Sunday’ incentive, which proved a remarkable success, as not only did many visitors enjoy a second day for the price of one, but in most cases they returned with a family member of a group of friends.  We shall look to offer a similar scenario for next year, so watch this space. 

The English Country Garden Festival 2019 will be held on 1st and 2nd June 2019.

And we are already plotting and planning new ideas, recruiting new exhibitors and stall holders, as well as inviting our visitor favourites back for another year. 

Would you like to exhibit your wares and join us in 2019?

Our pitch fees are extremely reasonable, so if you or anyone you know would like to apply for an information pack, do get in touch by emailing lorna@coombetrenchard.co.uk

We couldn't create such a wonderful event without each and everyone mentioned above, and we truly appreciate and value your comments, feedback, ideas. We also love to see your images too.

Did you come along this year? 

We'd love to hear from you if you did, and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2019.

Kind words go a long way to help us here at Coombe Trenchard, so if you could take a moment to leave a Google review on us, we would be so very grateful. Leave a review.

Or if you'd like to share your thoughts and images with us direct, do always feel free to email us. My thanks to those who have already been in touch to say how much you enjoyed this years show, and for the comments on our facebook page too.

To learn that so many of you love Coombe Trenchard almost as much as we do, quite simply makes the hard work worth it.

Wishing you a wonderful summer, and I look forward to sharing more of what we have in store for next years festival with you soon.

Sarah x

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