At a time when people are finally waking up to the impact of human action on the environment and the danger of losing so much of our natural heritage, it is truly wonderful to meet someone like Lindsey Jones of the Wildflower Nursery, near Reynalton, Kilgetty. In a small part of a field on her husband’s family dairy and beef farm, Lindsey has built a thriving little business that is already making a positive difference to the ecosystem.
She grows British wildflower plants to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators; all grown from seed and most often sold online as plug plants. Lindsey is committed to minimising the use of plastic wherever possible and uses coir pots, made from coconut by-products and avoids the use of peat or pesticides.
When Jim Saul, Gardening Correspondent and I, went to talk to Lindsey in her little nursery, she explained that her business has been set up in the last year or so following a long-time passion for wildflowers and since she began to sell online and to attend local plant fairs. She began to grow more wildflowers in a field across from the farmhouse and buildings three years ago in preparation for her own wedding flowers and the business idea came about.
Pembrokeshire Online CIC has met with several local gardeners and a common theme has emerged – how much their own well-being has benefited from devoting their lives to growing, especially when it focuses on encouraging biodiversity. Lindsey reflected on how much happier she has been since leaving office work and spending her days working with the plants and learning more every day about what works and what does not.
We shared our love for noticing the emerging wildflowers in Pembrokeshire lanes as Spring returns and how uplifting this can be too.
Contrary to what might be imagined, being a wildflower garden specialist is not all “running through meadows of wild flowers in a flowing dress with the sun shining”, but involves much patience and plenty of hard work in the polytunnel and garden too. Some species are slow to germinate and take time to appear – Lindsey is now concentrating on perennials, most of which are on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list. She supplies plants for meadows, gardens, community projects, wildlife gardens and urban landscapes and also for assisting with habitat creation. 97% of our wildflower meadows have been lost since World War Two and it is heartening to see a shift back to farming methods that allow wildlife corridors and the return of hedgerows.
The Wildflower Nursery will supply plants from the A-Z catalogue list of native wild flowers, or in collections of batches of 20 or 30 plants for specific purposes: Wildlife Attracting, Sun, Semi-shade and Shade, location-related, soil types, school collections and wild grasses, for example. Lindsey will grow plants to order and has posted plants all over the UK as far as the Shetlands. Due to the sporadic nature of getting plants established, she starts off seeds in trays or raised beds and then pots on into 70cc plug trays or coir pots. Apart from Cheddar Pinks, all the plants that Lindsey grows in the nursery are native to Pembrokeshire and she is keen to focus on gradually building up her stock from locally collected seed. Lindsey is careful to only take tiny amounts of seeds and is aware of all the protected species that cannot be used.
We talked about how much potential there is for Lindsey to develop her business over the next few years, but she is also Mum to 2 year old Hugo and is happy with the impressive progress already made. She has also developed a beautiful website, a great social media presence and gives her customers individual advice and attention – this has resulted in many repeat orders both online and in people seeking her out at plant fairs. Lindsey has decided that selling wholesale is not worthwhile for her business and found that people have greater success with plug plants than with seeds when setting up new wildlife garden areas. She is collaborating with other local entrepreneurs such as creating signs to go with new patches of garden with KlickKlack print and local illustrator, Annie Brougham, who designed Lindsey’s logo – just in case your neighbours are wondering what that overgrown – looking patch is for, or to inform visitors at the Bug Farm, for example, where Lindsey is developing mini meadow patches linking in to the Pollinator Trail. These signs are really useful too, in detailing the insects that will benefit from the wildflowers. Lindsey has colourful laminated labels for use at plant fairs as the plug plants may not look as exciting as some of the other plants on stalls, but her admirable determination to inform and share the long-term benefits for all of increasing wildflower areas guarantee that the message is getting across and she also has a catalogue that goes out with all orders so people can browse in the traditional way and not just online.
If you would like to create a wildflower patch in your own garden, remember that even a small patch can have a huge positive impact for pollinators – on Lindsey’s website is an excellent section on how to establish one in 5 simple steps.
And for Pembrokeshire Online CIC, we are looking forward to future collaboration with Lindsey and wish the Wildflower Nursery all success – what an inspirational Pembrokeshire business!
The preferred time for planting wildflower plug plants is spring or autumn, although you can plant all year round as long as the ground is not frozen, waterlogged or baked dry. For further advice please contact Lindsey at email@example.com. The nursery is not open to the public, but she responds quickly to emails!