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Personality of the Week: Purple Bloom Seeds

Published on May 11th 2021

by PurpleBloomSeeds. All rights reserved

A stack of flyers on a table
For Mental Health Awareness Week, we thought there would be no better people to speak with than Paul and Sarah-- the founders of Purple Bloom Seeds.
Purple Bloom Seeds is a small family-run business based near Somerset and Bristol. Like us, Paul and Sarah have experienced the benefits of gardening first-hand. Based on how gardening improved their well-being, Paul and Sarah donate 10% of any profits to organisations that provide garden therapy opportunities to local communities. They also want to make gardening more accessible to the wider population and encourage everyone to have a go at growing their own. Lastly, all Purple Bloom's seeds are sourced from reputable wholesalers based here in the UK - which we love!

Purple Bloom Seeds

1. What first propelled you into cultivating plants?

Sowing and growing from seed were pivotal in encouraging me to take things more slowly and finally reassess how poorly I was managing my mental well being. I would spend days and weeks ruminating, becoming anxious and going through cycles of depression. This was the pattern since I was a teenager, so quite a while ago now!
Anxiety was encroaching on very ordinary aspects of day to day life, such that I felt quite cut off from anything outside of my brain, which at times was an uncomfortable place to be.
Sarah encouraged me to get outside and be practical and to create something through gardening slowly. It teaches nurture, care and patience and encourages being present. Promoting those ideas as a social enterprise, encouraging people to take their time sowing seeds, and becoming involved in the process was a natural extension of my own experience.
A close up of a flower
A stack of flyers on a table

2. Tell us a fact about yourself that most people won’t know?

I honestly can’t think of anything...I have an MA in Sociology which is about as useful as it sounds!

3. What’s the next plant, accessory, tool or gadget on your wishlist?

I did consider buying a headlight ready for autumn and winter to do a bit of gardening once the whippersnappers were in bed. But I worried about what the neighbours might think about me pottering about and decided against it...but you never know, I may be on the cusp of starting a new Instagram trend!

4. Describe your gardening style in 3 words.

Muddy, Intuitive, Playful

A field of tall grass

5. What is your favourite gardening memory, moment or triumph?

Without a doubt, teaching our son how to grow herbs, flowers and veg from scratch and, through the course of a year, how to look after them. In a year, it will be our baby daughters turn. At the moment, the little one is more concerned with cuddles than anything else.
A little boy that is standing in a garden

6. What’s the first thing you will do once the lockdown is over?

We watched a lot of the Great British Bake Off (A LOT) during the lockdown. So I think restrictions become more eased; it would be wholly appropriate (and excusable) for us all to visit our favourite little tearoom for tea and cake(s)!

7. What's your favourite nifty gardening tip or plant fact?

For herbs and flowers that self-seed and take well in a container, like a chamomile, keep another spare container filled with soil next door. When it comes to the time when the plant begins self-seeding, you would have caught the seeds in the next door tub. Lazy successional sowing!
A close up of a flower with a hot dog

8. From pests to propagation, planting and design, what has been your biggest gardening nightmare?

Our garden used to be layer upon layer of paving slabs and bricks. Getting this into a quiet and soft space that also provides us with herbs for supper, potatoes and purple sprouting, beans and cabbages was hard work, a nightmare at the time, but thoroughly rewarding.

9. We know that when it comes to helping the environment, small actions can make a big difference! Do you have an eco-friendly gardening tip you’d like to share with our readers and us?

Keep annual clippings from hedges and branches and line them up against borders to form a natural slope. This provides a haven for insects within and amongst the log piles and a more rounded and natural slope for richer, fuller compost and mulch. We also use twigs instead of canes to support our fruit and veg. This cuts down on wastage and creates a more soft and natural setting. We also ensure we have a few small holes between our fence and our neighbours' fence so that nighttime hedgehog wanderers can make a safe passage on each foraging mission.
A close up of a flower

10. If you could choose any holiday destination to visit right now, where would it be?

We’d love to visit the Croatian coast one day. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Plus, I’m a sucker for a coastline view, blue seas, historic landmarks and a bit of warmth!
Shop purple bloom seeds on Candide:

Purple Bloom Seeds

11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your gardening world?

Keep it simple. Never worry about fashion. There is no need to rush. This applies to life as much as it does gardening! These mantras might seem incredibly simple, but I think we can get carried away with trying to design something elaborate, or that has to be validated by our peers. Plants and flowers go in and out of fashion, and I can sometimes feel pressure to complete a huge to-do list of a weekend.
During lockdown and when the children were in bed and the house was quiet, I spent a good hour sowing Calendula and Borage seeds. I could have sowed them all in 10 minutes flat, but I wouldn’t have been relaxing or really noticing, feeling or enjoying what I was doing. I think being less task-orientated and building a garden that is social and that plays to something that is as native and natural as a garden can be is something that evolves slowly and gently. Gardening at its best and most inclusive is shaped by the people, families, friends, insects, birds and creatures that inhabit them.
A close up of a plant

12. If you had to choose, what would be your top 3 gardening essentials?

My fork and spade, which has now been passed down to the fourth generation of family gardeners! The second would be a slowly rotting compost heap or two. The last would have to be my trusty little garden helper, who is 3 years old and very good at making strange concoctions of mud, water, leaves and stones, all whilst wearing a witches hat, a stethoscope and carrying a bucket full of stones!
A stack of flyers on a table

Find out more about this family-run independent business on the Purple Bloom Seeds website and browse the full range of mindfulness gifts and kits!

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