Think about it. A whole habitat in a tiny clay ball.
– Masanobu Fukuoka –
Despite the rain spring has truly arrived in our gardens. My broad beans survived two ‘beasts from the east’ and are growing stronger every day, rhubarb is out, tulips in containers developed flower buds and I am about to harvest my early purple sprouting broccoli for the first time! This time of the year is the busiest for gardeners, full of excitement of sowing seeds and possibilities of growing new! With spring in my step and spring in the garden, I spent last weekend catching up with some gardening jobs. One of them was sowing my Seedballs.
Seedballs are small clay balls packed with a mix of wildflower seeds and a touch of chilli powder. There is no need to “plant” them, just scatter on the ground and water, perfect for people just dipping their toes into the world of gardening! Chilli protects young seedlings from hungry slugs and snails, giving you a bit of extra confidence that your efforts won’t be eaten away.
The mission behind Seedball brand is “to fill the world with wildflowers and save bees and butterflies”; and those who follow me on Instagram know I love bees! Honey bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, I can watch them for hours, buzzing about their daily nectar-collecting business, forgetting that I also have hundreds of gardening jobs to buzz about.
Surprisingly, when Seedball got in touch with a kind offer to try some of their tins, I picked a bat mix! It sounded so exotic, I wasn’t able to resist. The bat mix is a part of new Seedball range designed together with scientists at the National History Museum to help birds, beetles and bats. Did you know that a tiny bat can eat more than 3000 insects per night?! Evening primrose and night-scented stock included in the bat mix, open their fragrant flowers when dusk descends in our gardens and bats are most active. Borage and cornflowers, my favourite flowers, also attract a variety of insects and bring a touch of blue to the colour palette!
There is a small raised bed just outside the house, largely dominated by a huge bay leaf tree, which I wouldn’t call unloved, but this little space has never lived up to my expectations. I want to be greeted by myriad of colours when I open my door and step into the garden. No pressure, Seedball! I have already planted lavender and chives there and created a vertical climbing wall from bamboo and pea netting for my sweet peas and Spring Blush peas. Addition of seedballs should really brighten up the space and attract more bees and butterflies, I hope. My ‘bee & bee’ hotel in the bay leaf tree is ready for new arrivals. This house is for solitary honey bees so only single rooms are available!
Tip: if you are making your own bee hotel, don’t forget to smooth bamboo edges.
I have some exciting plans for my garden this year, including building a glass conservatory/greenhouse. While I am looking forward to it, this also means a lot of turbulence for my already tiny growing areas. On the positive side, these changes push me to experiment more with gardening in the containers and growing vertically. Seedball also encourages people to grow flowers in pots or window boxes if they only have a balcony or a small space. I really like this philosophy and will be sowing my seedballs in new colourful pots I got for my container garden project.
Herbs and salads are another favourites among urban gardeners. Easy to grow and always useful in the kitchen. I raised my lemon balm from seed and it is growing happily in a terracotta pot producing fresh lemony scented leaves for my teas year after year. I am tempted to try SeedBall tea mix to infuse my tea with chamomile, anise and mint this summer!
Tip: Don’t plant mint and lemon balm in the ground, these plants will spread like a wildfire. Grow in containers near your kitchen door!
Living in London has a lot of advantages, but sometimes seeing grey urban areas and empty planters without a single plant makes my heart sink. Two of my purple sprouting broccoli in the front garden is the talk of my street with not many neighbours being involved in gardening.
This spring Seedball is partnering with the London National Park City to bring #WildflowersForLondoners campaign to London. The aim is “to sow 9 million wildflowers across the city, one flower for every Londoner!” How cool is that? Get involved by sowing seeds and sharing your beautiful pictures of wildflowers on Twitter and Instagram using #WildflowersForLondoners hashtag. Here comes my first one… and it is a BEE!