Exhibiting at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 7-12 July
THE MAKERS of an eco-friendly, peat-free compost made from wool and bracken are creating new ground by helping to restore peat bogs in some of the UK’s most precious uplands.
For part of the year Cumbrian farmer Simon Bland harvests the bracken on his local fells and shears sheep wool to make the secret mix for his environmentally-sound Double Strength Wool Compost. The rest of the season sees Simon restoring some of England’s most protected peat bogs in the Lake District, Peak District and other upland areas of Britain. As one of only a handful of specialists, Simon’s horticultural work encourages the growth of sphagnum moss and native heather in these ancient landscapes for organisations such as Natural England, RSPB, National Trust and Moors for the Future.
Simon and his partner Dr Jane Barker not only make peat-free compost but are specialist contractors involved in upland peat bog restoration. Their aim is to help return these important wet and heath lands back to their original landscapes, protecting the multitude of plants, birds and animals that live there. They have also launched recently a separate project to encourage the re-growth of native heather in parts of the Lake District. As Simon harvests bracken for his compost, he plants new heather seed as he goes. Bracken is an aggressive plant that ‘chokes’ native species and makes grazing difficult for wildlife and livestock. Planting heather seed will encourage new plants to grow and provide a natural habitat for flora and fauna alike.
Simon and Jane have used their specialist, environmental knowledge to create their unique, sustainable peat-free compost range. Double Strength Wool Compost™ can be mixed with garden soil or re-used compost to give plants a fantastic peat-free boost. The compost is concentrated, making it more sustainable, so perfect for gardeners who wish to cool their carbon footprint. This revolutionary product cleverly harnesses the natural properties of wool to trap water, whilst releasing a steady steam of nutrients to feed the plants over the growing season. Bracken adds a naturally high level of potash to the mix. The result is a real alternative to peat, with a similar soft texture, and great green credentials.
Simon said “In a way we’re the antithesis of peat producers. We don’t harvest peat and we don’t use peat. But we make a valuable compost, that we and many of our customers think is as good as peat, and are directly involved in restoring these internationally important habitats.”
These new projects give an extra environmental twist to the wool compost story.
Wool Compost has been extensively trialled and is being used by some of the leading historic gardens in Cumbria. It is also now available from Lakeland stores across the UK and via the chain’s mail order network.
Simon and Jane, hill farmers in Dalefoot, Cumbria, use wool from the Swaledale and Cheviot sheep on their 120-acre farm and those of neighbouring hill farmers, along with bracken from the Lake District fells surrounding their land. The couple began manufacturing compost and selling mail order almost 10 years ago, prompted by diminishing returns from their sheep farming business, and the technical input of Jane who holds a PhD in Environmental Science. They began their composting using bracken – a by-product of their environmental and habitat restoration work - before recently adding wool to the mixture.
The compost is available by mail order at www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk priced from £9.99 each including delivery for two bags, down to £6.50 each for deliveries of 50 bags. It is also sold by a small number of selected nurseries, garden centres and from Lakeland by mail order.
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For further information contact Emma Mason, PR consultant, on 07762 117433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for editors:
Also part of the Dalefoot Compost range:
• Standard Wool Compost – a potting compost ready for use in hanging baskets or containers. Gives a powerful boost to encourage growth and colour. Ideal for flower, vegetable and container growing. As with Double Strength Wool Compost, it offers natural water retention to ensure plants can thrive during warmer, drier summers.
• Lakeland Gold, a sustainably produced compost blending bracken with good old-fashioned farmyard manure. Particularly good for heavy, clay soils, this humus rich soil conditioner will provide a 'firm basis to good gardening'.
• Horsepower , a traditional rose growers favourite. Composted year old horse manure that is a good source of nitrogen and humus. For use as a general soil conditioner or for top dressing and planting out.
Picture credit - Val Corbett
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