THE MODERN MINT BLOG
We recently interviewed the fascinating team at Seedball and Project Maya – you can read part one of the interview here – do take some time to read what they have to tell us, and support their work by buying products like Seedballs…
Can you tell us more about the Maya reserve plot that you wish to buy by the end of 2015 please?
Yes, our aim is to buy our first UK nature reserve by the end of 2015 – not too far away! At present a number of locations have been shortlisted for our first reserve, based on our connections in those areas: Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield. At the moment, Leeds is a front runner! The Permaculture Association are based in Leeds, and we have strong links with the Leeds Sustainability Research Institute, and a number of the Maya team have lived or studied in Leeds so know the area well. We have calculated that once land is purchased the reserve will take about three years to establish. In this time we will spend time studying and restoring the land and learning about the local culture, as well as building capacity within the area to ensure the reserve is best placed to sustain itself into the long term. For example, establish a co-operative/committee of locals who will work together with their community to determine how the land should best be set up and managed.
What inspired your interest in this work?
I met the group of people who eventually set up Project Maya in Aberdeen, while we were studying for our Doctorates. Most of us were working in the fields of conservation and sustainability to some extent, and we had a desire to do something a bit different, and see if we could find a way to have more impact on sustainability through combining our knowledge and experience. Over the years we refined the ethos and vision for Project Maya, (a lot of which is based on research we were involved in), while at the same time the group slowly worked out who would take which roles and take the company forward as its Directors.
What was it like developing Seedballs?
Developing the seed balls has been quite an adventure! We spent our first year testing different takes on the general recipe and trying out different types of wildflowers, and seeing how people responded to them as a product. For the first year we rolled each and every seed ball by hand, and although we had a blast doing it, quickly realised we would need to become experts at manufacturing seed balls as well as selling them. Early on we decided to add in a chili ingredient to help ward off seed and shoot-lovers like slugs and ants, and this has been a big hit with our customers. Through lots of trials and errors, we have refined our recipe and manufacturing approach – it’s been a very enjoyable whirlwind, and it’s been fabulous to see all the wildflowers being grown in gardens across the UK as a result of our seed balls. Your can see lots of pictures from our customers on our website gallery page, ‘Your pics‘.
How can people find out more about your latest projects?
We love chatting with people! A good place to say hello is on Twitter, @seed_ball and @projectmaya and you can find out more about Seedball and Project Maya on our websites, http://www.seedball.co.uk/ and http://www.mayaproject.org/
Thank you so much Seedball and Project Maya!
(And don’t forget, here is Part One of the interview, while here you can read more about a Project Maya influence – Permaculture.)
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022