Design By Nature, Ireland’s long-established Irish wildflower grower, is celebrating another great year of increasing sales and customer numbers. 

Sandro Cafolla, founder of Design By Nature comments,  “While the 2019 autumn rain and 2020 summer rain put our  crops under serious pressure, the late 2020 summer sunshine  helped save much, and the barns – while not bulging – are full  with seed.” 

Covid-19 and slow internet rates delayed the testing and launch of their new website, however, web development will resume over the winter with an expected launch date pushed out to February 2021. 

Brexit will cause huge challenges to competitors who import UK wildflower, says Sandro. “While this is a great opportunity for us, it is off-set by more exacting demands on product specification, species, and performance. Already new entrants, in trade, retail, and giftware markets, are examining the gap in the market. While some will only sell native Irish,  others will not. 

“The horizon is bright, yet it will be many years before these crops can be mass-produced on a scale to reduce price and better regularise supply. Until those new entrants on the horizon come in on the tide and invest in production, we are committed to conservation first, keeping wild plants wild while selling first and second-generation wild seeds. “Increasing our production and scale-up is not easily solved. There are only so many harvest days and only so many products that can be hand and craft harvested. This micro SME capability is based on the skill level of each employee, and most take individual instruction for three years to learn the many varied aspects of the work. Our long-term staff of four manages about 10 satellite farms and production centres and all sales. 

“There is always employment here for knowledgeable horticulturists who can also advise and support our customers. Our next recruitment window is in February 2021.” 

Seasons greetings from this small horticultural team,  Sandro and the Seed Heads. www.wildflowers.ie.

Permaculture principles behind the business

When FH Wetland Systems (FHWS) was set up in 1996, the aim was to clean up  Cork Harbour. Still, to achieve that goal,  the company has worked on cleaning up watercourses around the country, as and when the opportunity arises.

Not enough to simply clean up water,  FHWS’ aim is to have low to zero energy inputs, sequester carbon, provide wildlife habitat, and sometimes firewood, fertiliser or compost as a by-product. These multiple outputs from a potentially resource-intensive waste management process is permaculture in action.

As part of the same aim Féidhlim Harty,  founder of FHWS, has written for Permanent  Publications in the UK; producers of  Permaculture Magazine, and a range of practical eco-friendly books.

Septic Tank Options and Alternatives Tank Options and Alternatives and Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds both examines practical solutions for wastewater treatment. Towards Zero Waste looks at household waste and how and why to reduce it. All part of the same goal towards a cleaner world. wetlandsystems.ie.

Horticulture student numbers on rise at Teagasc College

Teagasc College recently held a virtual event to promote its courses and studying for a qualification in Horticulture. College Principal John Mulhern, along with colleagues Louise Jones, Christopher Heavey, James Brady, and Paddy Smith gave presentations on the college courses and the student activities in the Horticultural College. This hour-long event was broadcast via Zoom. Attendees were able to participate in the Q&A session towards the end of the event.

This academic year, the college is operating a blended learning format whereby students take live lectures online and attend in small socially-distanced groups to the practical events in both the National Botanic Gardens and Teagasc Ashtown. Numbers participating in Horticulture courses at Teagasc College have risen this year and overall there is a high level of satisfaction among students in the courses they are following. Anyone interested in a career in Horticulture contact the college directly through the Teagasc website. ✽

Blended Horituclture at UCD and new appointments

Caroline Kingston - UCD GardenUniversity College Dublin (UCD) has been operating at the equivalent of level IV of the  Covid-19 emergency procedures since the beginning of this autumn’s trimester. Most 

lectures are delivered online and some students have a blended experience with face-to-face practical sessions or virtual online laboratory sessions. Many of the single entry under CAO code DN 250. Dr Caroline  Elliott-Kingston, Assistant Professor, has been  appointed Head of Horticulture and Programme  Director at UCD and two new lecturer positions in Sportsturf and Amenity horticulture will shortly be advertised. ✽ 

Autumn Lawn Care from Goldcorp

This year’sCovid-19 crisis meant that many families spent the year making full use of their back gardens. Barry Murray, MSc Chief Agronomist at Goldcrop Ltd says, “While the weather has been kind enough to allow us use this extra outdoor room it has meant that the family lawn has been heavily used throughout the year.

Landscaper Pro | Ireland Autumn & Winter lawn fertiliser | Landscaper Pro

Now is the perfect time to give the lawn a bit of TLC to ensure it looks the best coming out of the

winter. “Moss control can be carried out in shady areas using either sulphate of iron or liquid Moss Out. Moss Out can be applied with either a watering can or a knapsack sprayer. “The whole lawn would benefit from a good feed such as Landscaper Pro Autumn and Winter Feed. This is a professional grade fertiliser designed for the amateur user and gives up to three months’  nutrient release making it perfect for domestic lawns as pictured.”

For more information email Goldcorp: barry.murray@goldcrop.ie or phone: (021) 4882800).✽

Andy Campbell consulting launches brand new website

As we look forward to emerging from the most uncertain trading period in the recent history of garden centre retailing, the time is right to take a long, hard look at your business to determine whether it is fit for purpose in tomorrow’s commercial environment. To coincide with these unprecedented times Andy Campbell Consulting has totally rebranded and redesigned their website to enhance its content, appearance, and navigation. While nearly all new business to this specialist business development consultancy practice comes from word-of-mouth referral, the website is often used as a point of reference and information source by potential clients.

The website features comprehensive detail about Andy’s skills and experience, the services offered, past and present clients, along with numerous testimonials from across the industry. “I have been advising clients on business development for nearly two decades, so I thought it was high time I put some of this into practice within my own business,” commented Andy. “We have been busy over the spring and summer months working remotely, but we are looking forward to supporting the gardening sector in whatever way we can.”

The website address is www.andycampbellconsulting.co.uk.