The Observer Book of…

posted on March 31st, 2011 by Matt

This week’s graphics are a bit of a homage to the Observer’s Books series. What better companion on a wild flower walk than one of these vintage pocket guides?

There’s been about 100 Observer’s guides published since 1937, most with the distinctive white dust jacket. My favourites are the older ones with wavy lines at the top and bottom.

I think their appeal stems from genuine usefulness combined with a charmingly fusty and over-earnest tone. A knapsack, tweed jacket (with elbow pads) and sensible shoes complete the look!

Collector’s tip:
Noted on recent hiking trip: the Keswick branch of Oxfam has a rather fine selection of Observer’s guides for sale.

Observer's Books

take a wild walk among the flowers

posted on March 30th, 2011 by sian

After the glorious weather at the weekend, many of the Seasalt team arrived in the office with tales of soaking up sunshine in the Cornish countryside. We all agreed that Cornwall has some fantastic walks to offer and how beautiful the wild flowers can be.

There are so many different species of wild flowers here, due to the mild climate and diverse landscape, some are even quite rare! Although we could identify a few common ones it would be great to learn a bit more. We got our heads together to think of a few Cornish wild flower hotspots of where we might see some interesting blooms. Our first is below with more to follow soon. We’d also like to hear of any others so get in touch and let us know if you have any favourite wild flower walks too!

 Bedruthan Steps

The Bedruthan Steps, on the North Coast of Cornwall, got their name from the Victorians who believed that they were stepping stones for a giant named Bedruthan. The cliffs surrounding the bay are carpeted with a variety of wild flowers, especially the beautiful pink Thrift flowers. Thrift, like its name suggests, is a very thrifty plant and is at home in little soil, thriving on the rugged cliffs of the Cornish coastline. Folklore said that you will never be poor if you have Thrift growing in your garden. Maybe this is why it was on the side of the old English ‘threepenny bit’ coin!

To enjoy this piece of coastline, start at the beautiful beach of Porthcorthan Bay, just near Padstow, and head up the southern flank of the cliffs and follow the pathway along the cliffs. Be careful along here as the path does pass along the cliff edge. Carry on to the headland of Park Head and beyond, taking in the stunning scenery of the coastline and the varieties of wild flowers. Shortly after you will pass the crumbling remains of Redcliff Castle, which dates back to the Iron Age! You will then reach the Bedruthan Steps bay. Take a moment to soak up the landscape, strolling around the giant rocks before embarking on the trek up the cliff, don’t worry, you can reward yourself with a nice cuppa in the National Trust teashop at the top, located in some old mining buildings!

‘threepenny’ photo credited to Smabs Sputzer – http://www.flickr.com/photos/10413717@N08/

what are the wild flowers of Cornwall?

posted on March 29th, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

Amongst the beauty of Cornwall there a few small visual pleasures that can be found here in the far West. As the weather improves and there are more opportunities to get out to see these little gems we started thinking about some of the best wild flowers around Cornwall. So what could be the wild flowers that Cornwall is best know for? Here are my top five stunners…

  1. The Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) is a beautiful exotic flower sometimes seen across cornish fields or down by river banks.
  2. Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) loves boggy ground and has musical pods later in the year thanks to the seeds rattling within.
  3. The Cornish Violet (Violaceae) is the wild relation of that Victorian ladies favourite famed for it’s fragrant scent.
  4. Cornish Heath (Erica vagans) is a particular rarity  as it seeks out the unusual geology of alkaline soil, which is rare in Cornwall.
  5. Thrift (Aheria Maritima) as most will know enjoys the soil lacking cliff tops abundant around the West providing a much needed carpet of pinks and purples on a otherwise barren landscape.

There are many other stunning wild flowers over the Cornish landscape just crying out for you to discover there particular beauty. Do you have any favourites that you love to see here? What will you find in Cornwall next time you are out and about?

Wild flowers around Cornwall

NEW jute bags arrived!

posted on March 28th, 2011 by sian

We know our uniquely illustrated jute bags are a firm favourite with Seasalt lovers everywhere so we thought we’d give a shout out that we have just had a fresh batch arrive in the online Seasalt shop!

There are lots of new designs including, ‘Ice Lollies’, ‘Deck Chairs for Sale’ and ‘Lido’, all guaranteed to give you that seaside feeling wherever you are. All the jute bag designs are uniquely designed by us and are limited edition so grab yours whilst stocks last. PLUS…you can now get 3 jute bags for £10….a Seasalt bargain!

Shop Seasalt jute bags now!

Catch a Wave ® UK…Carving a way forward for health and wellbeing!

posted on March 25th, 2011 by sian

One of our team recently met a lovely lady called Anne Harrington who runs an award winning, not for profit enterprise, which aims to inspire people to benefit from the healing and positive qualities of lovely local beaches, the sea and nature. We thought it was a very inspiring concept and wanted to share it with you…

Catch a Wave® UK cic is the first Water Sports and Complementary Therapies Social Enterprise for Health and Wellbeing in the UK! It offers a complementary, non-drug approach to health care for many different health conditions. Their work is focused primarily around supporting vulnerable people and those who may feel too old, too unhealthy, too over-weight or too busy to access opportunities like water sports, outdoor activities, and complementary therapies. These include opportunities such as:

 ~Canoeing ~Yoga ~Pilates ~Acupuncture ~Foraging ~Beach Cleans ~NLP and Life Coaching ~Personal Training ~Sailing ~Surfing ~Tai Chi ~Reiki~

The core focus of Catch a Wave® UK is to help connect groups and individuals to these activities and therapies, designing activity packages that are specific to their needs. Anne Harrington FRSA, CEO of Catch a Wave® UK cic says: “A huge challenge for me when I initially began surfing was feeling too old, too unfit, too busy, not cool enough to surf. I feel there are a lot of people who may also experience this and although they would LOVE to give water sports a go, feel they have to go through so many hurdles before they even get in a wetsuit! Having been through many other life issues myself, I feel I want to put something back into society and help others catch a wave too, bringing some magic back into their lives … and we have an amazing crew on board to make this a reality!“.

Catch a Wave® UK cic is a not for profit organisation which pours any profits made back into the community and environment as well as into the successful running of the enterprise. With three voluntary Directors and a team of other volunteers, it has already begun to make a difference in the community and beyond. To help raise awareness of Catch A Wave® UK, the team will be present at various events this year including, Relentless Boardmasters, Mazey Day, and at their own event The Big Beach ExperienceTM.

For more info or to book a session with Catch a Wave® UK cic, or if you would like to know how you can become involved in future events, visit www.catchawaveuk.com or contact:

 Anne Harrington FRSA, Managing Director – 07778598955   info@catchawaveuk.com

Images copyright of Gwithian Academy of Surfing / Rachel Lambert / BF Adventures.

wrap up for a perfect Mother’s Day

posted on March 22nd, 2011 by sian

It’s nearly Mother’s Day (remember – Sunday 3rd April) and whilst you should never need an opportunity to show your mum just how much you care, Mother’s Day is a great time to spoil and thank her for all that she does.

To help make Mother’s day truly special, we’ve put together a selection of some great Seasalt Mother’s Day gift ideas to help you pick out the perfect present – plus we’ll even make your gift extra special by gift-wrapping it for free! Just make sure you add the free Mother’s Day gift-wrap option at the delivery section of the checkout.

Having a ‘Mother’s Day’ is a worldwide tradition with most cultures dedicating a day of the year to honour their mothers. Mother’s day or  ‘Mothering Sunday’, as it was first known in the UK, is widely believed to have started in the 16th century when Christians would visit their ‘mother’ church. Working children and slaves were released from their employers for the day so that they could visit their families. The children are said to have picked flowers on their way home to give to their mothers as gifts – a familiar tradition that you’d recognise today!

The commercialisation of Mother’s Day came from the US and nowadays, the American population spend billions of dollars each year on cards and gifts just to spoil their ‘Moms’ on their special day! Plus, did you know that Mother’s Day only really became popular again in the UK when US soldiers were seen to celebrate the American Mother’s Day during World War II!

Regardless of its history or where it came from, we think Mother’s Day is a perfect excuse to honour our lovely mums!

Make sure your marvellous mum gets her Seasalt gifts ontime, place your order by Midday Thursday 31st March.

Celebrate Mother's Day with Seasalt

on your marks, get set, sow!

posted on March 21st, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

All our talk  about Cornish Gardens and wild flowers last week left me desperate to get in the Poly Tunnel and start sowing seeds. If anything just to get a sense that spring is bounding along towards summer even if officially Spring doesn’t start until next week. So armed with the packets that I had ordered and stared at for a least a month I pulled out a few pots stacked up since last year, grabbed some potting compost and settled down for an enjoyable hour ‘getting stuck in’ with the sowing.

Even with the benefits of a poly tunnel or greenhouse it is easy to be too hasty with sowing. I tend to hold back a week or two at least from the dates printed on the packets with the opinion it is better to be successful though with slightly later results than starting too early and getting patchy germination.

One thing to always pay attention to  is sowing depth, whether it be half an inch or just below the surface how deep you sow each plant can mean the difference between life and no life from the seeds point of view! The finest of seeds, such as poppy or thyme don’t even need covering. Remember water and light are the key! I use vermiculite as a topping in some cases for just that reason, giving light with the benefit of protection. With an undercover temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, enough for me to shed my Boatman smock,  it’s easy to forget that the nights are still cold, hence my caution about sowing times.

And if I’m really, really sure of the rising temperatures I may sow just a few tomato and capsicum (Pepper & Chilli) seeds to get things going but will always hold a few back to sow a few more in succession.

A word of warning, more than a hint of patience is needed when sowing, seeds are pre-programmed to germinate after a certain time so they will come up in their own time as long as they aren’t drenched on a regular basis.

So right now, gently warming up in my poly-tunnel, I have Lettuce, Spring Onions, Leeks, Beetroot, Chard, Herbs and as mentioned before a few Chilli’s, Peppers and Tomatoes. I also have a number of Onion sets in modules getting a grip before being planted out in a month or two. Of course I haven’t forgotten the floral displays, right now I’ve gone for a few Cosmos varieties, including the yummy ‘Chocolate Cosmos’ and Foxgloves ‘Digitalis’

Whether you have a Green House, Conservatory or ample windowsill space it’s time to break open those little silver packets and unleash the wonders within. Happy sowing!

Getting on with the early sowing

wild flowers that inspired our prints

posted on March 17th, 2011 by sian

At Seasalt, we are very proud of our prints as they are designed by us, you won’t find them anywhere else and we often source inspiration from our stunning Cornish surroundings. For this season’s prints, Sophie – our talented print designer, drew inspiration from the many beautiful wild flowers that adorn our glorious Cornish coastline.

Due to Cornwall’s mild and often moist climate, wild flowers seem to thrive in a range of habitats around Cornwall, from rugged cliff tops to lush gardens, as well as beautifully lining the incised country lanes. Here are just a few of the wonderful wild flowers that inspired the current Spring Summer Seasalt collection:

Dandelion

The Dandelion has a distinct yellowy-orange flower head, which is in turn made up of very small flower heads, each called a floret. The flower head opens during the day but closes at night and when the flower matures, it turn into spherical ‘clocks’, which each have a single-seeded fruit on the end called achenes. These fruits are attached by fine hairs making it easy for the wind to pick them up, dispersing the seeds across the landscape. You can see our Dandelion inspired ‘Dandelion Clocks’ print below.

 Mallows

The Common Mallow plant is found growing wild all around the Cornish coast line and has small pretty purpley pick flower heads. The common Mallow can also be used for medicinal purposes due to the anti-inflammatory properties of its mucus. Apparently if you have a toothache, just chew on the flowers and it will relieve the swelling! You can see our ‘Mallows Mist’ print below.

 Climbing Clematis

As indicated by the name, the Climbing Clematis is a vigorous climbing plant and it’s leaves and leafstalks twist and curl around any nearby supporting structures to help it grow. The pretty flowers can bring a fantastic burst of colour to any garden. An Indian woodblock found on Sophie’s travels abroad actually formed the basis for our Climbing Clematis print (shown below) but they can also be seen in many Cornish gardens.

Take a look at all the unique prints in our current Spring Summer collection here!

Seasalt unique fabric print designs

cornish garden history

posted on March 16th, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

Written by Stephen Bedser

If you consider the archetypal Cornish garden you will most likely think of Camellias and Rhododendrons, exotic plants and jungle like valleys. Taken at face value they are a fascinating and beautiful part of Cornwall that any visitor would be a fool to miss. There is however a lot more to these gardens, it’s taken generations of head gardeners and estate staff to plant and design what you see today. Victorian explorers risked life and limb traveling the world for native plant species to bring back. Their hope was to find specimens to create mighty garden retreats with that sheltered their wealthy owners from the hardships of the Industrial Revolution and with it notoriety.

In Cornwall the environment was near on perfect to nurture these unusual plants into flourishing environments never before seen by the average man. Coupled with the Victorians zeal for perfection and advancement the stunning gardens have passed from one generation to the next, tended or left unchecked for creative inspiration and fascination.

I have a fondness for one such garden near Truro in Cornwall as my father once took on the Head Gardener role for a great Cornish garden now sadly lost in the past. Carclew was owned by the Lemon family when the garden was at the forefront of horticulture progress. It was once the greatest rhododendron garden in the South-West, some of the oldest rhododendrons were grown there from the Himalayan collections of Sir Joseph Hooker. Prolific Victorian plant hunters the Lobb Brothers also have their roots within the grounds history.

Sadly a fire that destroyed the grand house in early 20th Century saw the end to what was once one of the mightiest of Cornwall Gardens. By the time my father paced the pathways the estate had been split and neglected, the greenhouses had all but returned to the soil and many a tended plant left to their own devices. But even now, in what is a private garden, glimpses of horticulture grandeur can still be seen. Rare Camellias still paint the landscape each year, vistas continue to take your breath away and lakes with their fountains occasional trickle to the sound of lone cuckoos.

Thankfully great gardens such as Heligan, Trebah and Tregwainton continue to prosper and demonstrate the wonder of  the Cornish garden. Each and every one of them are worth a visit to, if anything,  soak up a bit of Cornwall’s horticultural history. Carclew gardens is open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.

Seasalt Blog: Great Cornish Gardens - Carclew

supporting ShelterBox

posted on March 15th, 2011 by Emma Raczkowski

No-one will have failed to notice what’s happening in Japan at the moment and our thoughts here at Seasalt are with everyone who’s been affected or has loved ones out there.

Shelterbox is a great charity based just down the road from us in Helston and they are already responding to the disaster. To help them with their work why not make a donation to support disaster relief around the world.

Also, check the Shelterbox website to keep  in touch with all the news of Shelterbox in Japan and for all their up-to-date information.

ShelterBox logo

category: Charity
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