When David Holmes lost his 12-year-old rabbit, Lucy, earlier this year, he wanted to do something special to remember her but struggled to find something he felt was appropriate. And so Ashes to Blooms was born – David’s brainchild in which ashes are mixed with UK native wildflower seeds and other natural ingredients to create unique seed balls which customers can spread to grow their own memorial gardens.
Having grown up in a “full house” of “every imaginable pet” – including Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, stick insects, dogs, cats, horses, chickens, ducks, bantams, fish, rats, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits and more – David couldn’t resist bringing another one home.
“I was at the South of England Show at Ardingly when I came across a beautiful Netherland Dwarf rabbit. I instantly knew that she was the girl for me – she came home with me that afternoon,” he says.
“Lucy lived free in my lounge and made it entirely hers. We referred to it as ‘Lucy’s lounge’, as she was very much the boss of the domain. She was full of love, enjoying strokes and cuddles, as well as being feisty and endlessly naughty. She was a brilliant companion for nearly 12 years and a brilliant buddy during lockdown.”
By January this year, Lucy had really slowed down as a result of arthritis, and by the end of the month David made the decision to have her put her down. “I was distraught and there seemed like no way to do justice to the companion she had been and the incredible happiness and fun she had brought to my life over the past almost 12 years,” he says. “It was as a result of this loss that I set about creating Ashes to Blooms.”
The family business is based in David’s hometown of Worthing. The ashes – whether animal or human – are sent to David (or collected by arrangement) and then mixed with chilli powder to keep pests away and calcium to encourage growth, with a turnaround time of up to seven days. The seed balls are then posted by Royal Mail special delivery back to the customer.
David says he is keen to speak to veterinary practices and crematoria about offering this service to clients, as he believes this is a novel concept and notes that the service is already proving popular.
He’s also keen to promote the sustainable credentials of the business. “All ingredients in our seed balls are natural and the wildflower seeds are all from varieties native to the UK. These flowers are ideal for attracting bees and butterflies to our gardens and helping to restore their habitat, much of which has been lost as a result of development. We also use recycled packaging and marketing materials wherever possible.”
The full magazine is available at September 2022 DIGITAL EDITION (adobe.com)