Julie was travelling in Asia when the pandemic hit last year. With no mobile phone reception, she had no warning that a pandemic was about to sweep the world. It was only when she received missed calls, and message notifications that she realised what was happening.
The following days trying to get home were a rollercoaster with flights getting cancelled, and she was very grateful when she finally landed in Dublin.
Julie is Waterford born and bred, and her family has been synonymous with the arable seed business for generations. Farming at Ballinakill on the outskirts of Waterford city, Julie’s great-great-great-grandfather William Power established the first nursery, seed merchants and florist way back in 1859.
Since then, the Power family business has been centred on quality seed production and continues to operate a successful agricultural seed business trading as Seedtech. With a family background like that, it’s no wonder Julie inherited the seed bug. So, finding herself back home unexpectedly, Julie reflected on her passion for the environment and how wildflower seeds can play their part in biodiversity. A decision was made, Julie was ready to begin her journey as the sixth generation of her family in the seed business.
“I grew up surrounded by a family passionate about producing quality seed. While travelling, my interest in the environment and sustainability deepened.
“COVID brought a strong sense of people looking to connect with something to keep them grounded, to give them hope when they were surrounded by so much uncertainly, and they turned to nature and spending time in their garden. I felt that wildflowers could help us connect to nature.”
At its core, Blooming Native is all about growing wildflowers and harvesting their seeds. A great deal of skill and patience is needed to capture wildflower seeds. A combine can harvest some varieties, but most are saved by hand during July, August, and September. And as – with any other crop – it’s best done when the weather is calm and dry.
Seedtech’s experienced technical team and horticulturist is doing the highly skilled seed production in conjunction with wildflower industry veteran Sandro Caffolla, who has decades of experience in wildflowers.
Her Flowering Lawn Mix has caught the trend for creating meadow lawns. “With this mix, there’s a lot less lawn mowing and more time to enjoy new life in the garden.”
There’s an easy-to-grow Butterfly and Bee Mix as well as mixes suitable for anything from window boxes to patio planters and larger areas. The wildflower seeds gift cards are proving very popular, not just as a lovely way to connect with family and friends but with companies interested in supporting biodiversity and sustainability.
So why bother growing what many people consider to be weeds? “Wildflowers are low maintenance, they are easy to grow, and they provide a joyous burst of colour in the garden. They support biodiversity and promote our well being. They are really about hope and joy.
“Sowing wildflower seeds provide a habitat for pollinators, seeds for wild birds, promotes our well being and brings us joy. Blooming Native wildflower mixes can be used anywhere and getting closer to the natural world is all about doing good, and feeling good,” she says.
Blooming Native was established during COVID-19, and it has traded exclusively and successfully in the online sphere. It’s an e-commerce business that sells directly to its customers online (bloomingnative.ie).
Social media has proved critical in linking customers with Julie’s burgeoning wildflower seed business.
“With COVID, people rediscovered their gardens and growing wildflowers caught on and that interest has continued. I’ve found social media great for making connections, and I am active on Facebook and Instagram. I’m able to advise about growing wildflowers, and it gets my brand out there.”
Looking to the future, Julie wants to build on the varieties of seed offered by Blooming Native and expand her business. But, above all, she wants to help bring people closer to nature, doing the work she is passionate about. Something all those grandfathers, great grandfathers, great grandfathers, and mothers would be very proud of.
Blooming Native supply two different ranges of seed. The first is Native Wildflower Seed. Sowing these native seeds will contribute to the conservation of our native wildflower species here in Ireland. Packs sell from €8 for a 6g/2sq metre bag.
It also has a small range of Garden and Pollinator seeds, which are easy to grow and impactful mixtures that will produce flowers native to other countries and continents outside of Ireland. These mixtures are an excellent food source for pollinators and are suitable for sowing in gardens and urban areas only. Packs sell from €5 for a 6g/2sq metre bag.