Stories / Aug 24, 2023
Nestled away in a narrow valley just north of Bath is Manor Farm, the West Country home of Emorsgate Seeds. As a loyal Emorsgate customer, we were lucky enough to visit at the end of July. The visit left such an impression on all the team, that we felt compelled to capture it in a post.
Heading out on the road and visiting our seed supplier, Emorsgate had been on our list for a while! We’ve had a busy summer, so when an opening emerged in everyone’s diaries we jumped at the opportunity.
Emorsgate is the brainchild of renowned botanist Donald MacIntyre. Acutely aware of the detrimental impact of intensive farming on our environment, Donald has utilised his encyclopaedic knowledge of native flora to foster restorative wildflower habitats.
Over the years as demand has grown, the team at Emorsgate has grown with it. They are now the largest producer of wild seeds in the whole of the British Isles! At Vertical Meadow, we were first attracted to Emorsgate because they offer a tailored service – unique seed mixes designed for specific environments… it’s a no-brainer really.
We were incredibly fortunate to be taken on a tour of the farm by Donald’s daughter, Laurie. Being late July, the meadows were a riot of colour. Vivid red poppies, Wild carrot, Oxeye daisies, Bird’s-foot trefoils, Cornflowers, Campions, Orchids – you name it, they had it. Of course, we couldn’t help but bombard Laurie with question after question! I can say with some confidence that if you need a wildflower identified, or in our case need reminding of the exact make-up of the “Vertical Meadow Seed Mix”, then Laurie is the person you want by your side.
After rapid growth during the spring and early summer months, the end of July marks the beginning of the seed harvest. During our tour of the farm, we had the pleasure of observing it first-hand. At the top of the valley, we encountered three-generations of MacIntyres, scythes in hand, harvesting the wildflower seed by hand. What a sight! Laurie explained that harvesting will continue throughout most of August before their horses are let loose in the meadows and grazing begins.
The tour looped back to the family house, and it didn’t take long before Donald convinced us that no visit to the farm was complete without a crash course in scything and a horse ride. We duly obliged on both fronts!
As if that wasn’t enough, before heading off we were treated to Donald’s wonderful tales of collecting wildflower seed in East London as a student in the eighties. That, he told us, was the beginning of Emorsgate! It is so inspiring to see how far the business has come.
What a day we had. The Macintyre’s passion and warmth blew us away.
Our trip to Manor Farm underscores the wonderful synergy between sustainable innovation and ecological restoration. The seeds that adorn our living wall systems are a testament to Donald and his family’s commitment to native flora. Our visit was a sharp reminder of the importance of celebrating our environment and the joy that comes with nurturing it.