Looking back at Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival 2019 - a post show blog post from founder Sarah Marsh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Classic Cars, Vintage Cars and Veteran Vehicles will be coming to Coombe Trenchards English Country Garden Festival on 1st and 2nd of June 2019.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.