Product of the Month – February 2021
For February’s Product of the Month I have chosen to tell you more about our popular seed cards. Unlike other seed cards, instead of a bean or a sachet of seeds coming with the card, ours have the seeds incorporated into the card itself. Rather than sowing the seeds and throwing the card away, you plant the actual card. Such an ingenious design, our seed cards delight both the giver and the receiver.
Seed cards are one of the most fun things to sell in our gift shop in Hull as we watch them catch they eyes of new customers who are compelled to announce, “You plant the card!” and “The seeds are in the card!”. Everyone knows someone who would “just love” to receive one. “It’s a card and a gift in one” is another frequent wonderstruck announcement. It doesn’t wear off: we’ve been selling them a couple of years now, and we’re still just as amazed by them as we were when we first saw them.
Made in England by a talented artist and all-round lovely lady called Pamela who has a passion for everything eco, both the cards and envelopes are made of recycled paper and come in a clear biodegradable and compostable film which is made from vegetable starch and also made in the UK. You don’t get much more eco-friendly than that!
There are cards for all occasions, some with a bit of good-natured humour on the front, others that are just pretty or irresistibly cute. From “Happy birthday two ewe” with 2 comical looking sheep, to a rather spaced-out looking owl wishing the recipient to “Get well soon”, all the cards are blank inside for you to write your own message. Yes, you can actually write “Happy birthday” or whatever without it repeating some pre-printed rambling message that leaves you wondering what on earth there is left for you to put.
Why plant seed cards?
It’s widely reported here in the UK that we are having a massive problem keeping our bees alive and healthy. As we need them to pollinate the flowers of much of the food we like to eat this isn’t just a disaster for the bees! Flowers that seemingly have no purpose other than to look pretty are actually the best way for bees to find the food they need while waiting for our crops to bloom. By growing more flowers we can help reverse the decline of these essential little workers, 35 species of which are currently under threat of extinction in the UK alone.
The British Beekeepers Association explains why and how we can help:
“Woodland, hedgerows, meadows and verges have been disappearing at an alarming rate and parts of the countryside are now green deserts with very few wild flowers so bees need your help!
You can help the bees, all the bees, honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees, by planting more flowers for them to feed on. It doesn’t matter if your garden is a balcony, allotment, window box, pots and tubs or a swathe of green open space; with a bit of thought pollinators can benefit from a banquet of pollen and nectar right throughout the year.”
For more ways to help protect our bees in your garden, take a look at Friends of the Earth.
The seed cards we sell at Near & Fair contain the bee-friendly flower seeds Black-Eyed Susan, English Daisy, Corn Poppy, Catchfly, Sweet Alyssum, and Spurred Snapdragon. Ideal!
The cards come with a little leaflet with planting instructions. When you send the card, remember to put the instructions inside! If you’ve received one without the instructions here’s what you do:
- Soak the card in water
- Cover with a thin layer of soil and water well
- Keep moist until seedlings are established
- Best time for planting is in the spring
Seed cards are best planted in the cooler months during spring or autumn, though wildflower seeds are quite forgiving and are used to sitting in soil until the conditions are just right for them to grow. If you have received a card and don’t have time to deal with it now, don’t worry, it can be saved for later. Bearing in mind that seeds need warmth and moisture to germinate, keeping the cards somewhere cool and dry will help them last until you’re ready to plant them, even a couple of years if necessary.
All in all, we think our seed cards are the best greetings cards you can get. They are made using eco-friendly, sustainable methods, they provide essential food for our bees before our food crops come into flower, and they turn a garden (or a pot) in to a beautiful mini nature reserve. Whether you sit amongst it, or observe from a window, having fresh flowers and buzzing bees in your garden is bound to lift your spirits and help you feel closer to nature.
Last week’s topic was “Close to Home” and I talked about “What We’re Up To” during the 3rd lockdown. Next week will be Fair Trade News and information about the up-coming Fairtrade Fortnight.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Seed cards – if they’re straight they’re courtesy of Ripped Up Art. If they’re wonky we took them ourselves. Bee on a Calendula flower is my own. Seed card insert by Ripped Up Art. Card recipient’s photos with thanks to Chrissie.
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