Brief Biography for BBC Radio Suffolk Slot

Posted: Jul 30 2018

Thank you for the opportunity
Below is a quick biog of The Wildflower Lady
I started my business initially making clothes in a studio in Suffolk within Brightspace, a wonderful space where many charities work
I had an industrial unit there which used to be a timber workshop.
The clothing side was wonderful and very successful at times
I started to want to work with Nature more
And one of the things I had a passion for was creating a green space in front of my workshop
which was otherwise just concrete
So I started to make my own planters out of pallets and all sorts
As I really didn't have much of a budget for gardening
One of the things I really wanted to achieve was to help the bees
And it was harder than I thought
I planted things and the bees didn't really come
so in the evenings with a g&t i would research all things bee
and how to help them
Gradually I figured out what to plant
It got to the point I had so many different types of planters and sizes, the entirity of my 60foot long wall at the front of studio was ablaze with nectar-rich bee friendly swathes of colour
It was fulll of bees butterflies, caterpillars, wasps, 
The CEO next door used to come and watch the butterflies in her lunch break
I'd be sowing and hear people come up and remark on marrow's growing amongst the flowers
It was actually a perfect place to grow as there were few pests, it was warm against the wall and hard for things like slugs to reach due to all the concrete
I was so pleased to have made the transformation
and one of my planter ideas was a hessian sack, from my experience with clothing
Away from plastic, biodegradable
Since then I've made up various sizes and been selling them at markets
Our first market was Wyken Vineyards Farmer's Market which has been voted one of best top ten farmer's markets by the times I believe
and I was thrilled to have a place there
I started that about three years ago
I then started to make wooden planters with my carpenter partner, Vince. Who I met around the same time as I started to make the hessian pots
He really helped me get all the sizes right as he's brilliant with that size of thing
Then my Dad started to make planters for me, out of reclaimed timber, from a local source which was going to go as firewood (secret source!)
It was brilliant stuff, softwood and hardwood and so good for the environment to re use. 
So now we have wildflower seeds, which I always wanted to sell
I had a dream of having a bowl full of seed the seeds I knew which worked
and the bees loved, 
and giving it to people at events
And suddenly there I was with bottles and jars of seeds selling them at events 
Again bottles and jars away from plastic and a happy mistake, I stole some of my partners kilner bottles for seed at an event one day and people liked them so much it never stopped from there. 
I also do meadow in a pot sets where I print terracotta pots
Nature doesn't like plastic
It makes plants sweat
I like to encourage people who don't have acres, that they can, in fact get a great effect with planters or pots or tin baths
That was the favourite thing at my studio, a tin bath full of Kew's Grow Wild seeds
People just used to stand and stare at thature 
My partner and I also create meadows for people
A few months back we went to visit a couple in Bardwell who'd brought a part of a field outside of their house
We made the meadow in a month in November last year
It was a strong, beautiful vibrant place
Full of bees buzzing
the kind of sound you never hear nowadays
I told them they were probably feeding all the bees in the local area
and what a thrill! To create such a space, a useful space out of what was a corner of an arable field, monoculture .
I am not an expert, I didn't study at university to do this
But I have worked hard and read pretty much everything I can get my hands on on on this
and I have experience, we have experience and the seeds we sell actually work
and we enjoy the work we do.
We also work hand in hand with ecologists on our projects
The meadows are easy grow based on our experience of creating meadows for people
they are the unfussy ones
they dont mind sandy soil
cultivated soil
they have good root systems
they're not invasive, but they'll give weeds and grasses a good run for their money
the really bee friendly ones are organic
filled with plants which refill with nectar every minute or so
they only have 20% grasses instead of 80% which is often the case. 
I don't have a shop / syudio at the minute
But we do do Hadleigh Market by Suffolk Market Events every Friday which Justine has re created a beautiful ma,rket out of something which was dying 
Wyken Vineyards farmers market every Saturday
and various events like Lavenham and Snape Maker's Market on Sunday's
Our events are on facebook page 'the wildflower lady'
We have a small holding on the park my partenr work on
Sheep to graze meadow, geese and ducks
Sheep are amazing in meadow creation. 
One of the most popular things has been my dad's
hedgehog homes
He's blinged it rather, but it's made to the wildlife specs
and is badger proof as much as we can make it, their main predator
they're one of the things people can really help in their gardens
studies have shown hedgehosg released will go to gardens rather than arable land
bee hotels
for the the unsung heros of polliniation, 250+ species
My partner and I make recycled ones out of hessian and pipe
which have been really popular
Vince is great at recylcing, and dad with the reclaimed timber
It is nice to be creative with what we use. 
I thought I'd send this over for now and if I can think of anything else I will send it off too. 
Everything is designed to make it easier to create wildflife friendly spaces in people's gardens
Make life easier
Make it fun.

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