The founder of a Worthing wildflower memorial service on filling an 'obvious gap in the market' | Vicky Meets

Vicky Edwards meets David Holmes, founder of Ashes to Blooms
David Holmes, founder of Ashes to BloomsDavid Holmes, founder of Ashes to Blooms
David Holmes, founder of Ashes to Blooms

What is Ashes to Blooms? I take the ashes of your loved one, whether a beloved person or a special pet, and combine them with my own mixture of UK native wildflower seeds and other natural ingredients to create bespoke seed balls, each one as unique as your loved one. These can then be given to friends and family to scatter in a special place, producing a beautiful wildflower memorial.

How did you come to start the business – what’s that back story? After losing my companion rabbit, Lucy (aged 12) in January 2022, I looked at ways to commemorate her. Despite a huge range of options, none felt right for ‘my Lucy’. I had the idea of combining loved ones' (whether a human or pet) ashes with wildflower seeds to create bespoke seed balls, but when looking online, there was nothing like this in the world.

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I therefore went about setting up Ashes to Blooms, to fill what appeared to be an obvious gap in the market. I also felt that concept fitted well with the drive to move towards sustainable business and living, with our seed balls assisting in rewilding, and creating a food source for bees, butterflies and other insects.

How have people responded to the idea? I have been blown away by the response. I have received orders from people all across the UK, and heart-warming feedback from clients. One customer said that they had plans to create a wildflower garden, alongside their mum.

Unfortunately, their mum passed away, but by creating the wildflower garden using seed balls containing her ashes, this made them feel like she was still taking part. I get the occasional negative comment on social media, but loss and how to deal with it is a very personal thing and I understand that people have strong reactions to it.

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What are your hopes for the business going forward? I feel that using ashes to grow wildflowers is an easy way to help nature, and hopefully assist with the grief suffered by those left behind after a loss. I want to spread the message about Ashes to Blooms and give everyone the opportunity to create their own wildflower memorials.

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I believe you have also commemorated a human member of your family with your wildflower balls too. Will you tell me more? There was nothing like this available when I lost Lucy. However, after the loss of my brother in August 2022, my family were able to use some of Andrew's ashes to create his own seed balls. This summer we will plant these in our gardens and on our balconies, and he will continue to be part of our lives.

Where can we find more information?; Facebook: @ashestobloomsuk; Instagram: @ashestobloomsuk

I will also be part of the next Coffin & Cake café event. Aimed at those who are grieving. We will be at Pinks Ice Cream Parlour, Bognor Regis, on March 18. Get in touch for details.

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