LJN Blog Posts

Doing the Right Thing

The last two years have taught me some useful lessons about who to listen to. Do listen to your 10 year old when he listens intently to your description of your job of the last twenty odd years and then says “why?” Don’t listen to the bank manager and don’t listen to the nagging voices of self doubt and common sense.I used to be in the City, where unfortunately I specialized in the Japanese stock market. “Unfortunately”, because contrary to an often held belief Japan is up the wahoo and has been since the late 80s. I made a good living out of a little investment management firm I set up in 1998, but could see the writing on the wall 9 years later when I appeared as an expert witness in an insider trading case. The trader involved was fined heavily (in the U.S. he would have been jailed) and banned from trading in London, so cheerfully set up in Geneva. I was sickened.As so often happens, though, I had come up with a Plan B – Habitat Aid. I’m never quite sure how to describe it, but let’s give it a go.I hope to persuade and enable people to at least partly recreate or help replace key habitats like meadows, wetlands, orchards and woodland. The company also helps a small number of charities financially.Habitat Aid is partly an online retailer selling mostly trees, plants and seeds sourced from really good quality specialized suppliers who often have a limited or no e-commerce operation themselves – so they benefit from being involved. Half our profits from sales go to selected partner charities, which are linked to specific products. We sell exotic ‘trees for bees’, for example, which help fund the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at Sussex University. This will not just help charities financially, but also helps get key messages across. We encourage folk to help give honey bees all year round forage so we sell trees like Acacia dealbata, which flowers beautifully from January.We also act as a kind of honest broker. I am building a network of consultants in areas like garden and estate design, meadow creation, and wetland projects. We recommend and introduce these folk to end clients and landscape professionals, to give advice or to design and project manage. We then supply the plants for these schemes. We have just worked on a lovely pond project for Channel 4’s ‘Landscape Man’ on this basis.We are developing products directly with our partner charities. We are working with the ‘Adopt a Beehive’ scheme and BBKA Enterprises to supply native seed mixes for bees, for instance.We have also started to run courses on things like making meadows and ponds as part of our efforts not only to enable clients to create and manage them but also to appreciate them aesthetically.Habitat Aid has been trading for a year and we are still tiny, but I am cautiously optimistic. Do I wake up at three o’clock in the morning in a blind panic? Yes. Do I look forward to getting to my desk in the morning? You bet.
Email me when people comment –

Comments

  • What a lovely post so inspiring and congratulations on making that scary move. If you are every looking for a consultant in the Norfolk area feel free to contact me most of my involves designing and building gardens that include one or more of the habitats you have mentioned. I am about to start a wildlife and woodland garden from scratch and will be looking at your site for products.
    Shadow
  • I am talking to farmers, yes - although it's a specialist market and slightly different to the one I'm focussed on I have a couple of good consultants in that area...
  • What an interesting post. We wish you every success with Habitat Aid, and if we get any client requests in this area we'll know where to come.
  • Thanks - look forward to hearing from you!
  • PRO
    Sounds brave and interesting. I do some voluntary consultancy work for the local Millennium Green and they need this kind of support. Advice about species, management and how to access funding is handy.
This reply was deleted.

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Highlighted blog posts

Open forum activity

Andrew Betteridge replied to Andy Sheridan's discussion Tricky customer
"Is that a recent picture or from when the work was first completed?
I assumed there would be signs of movement.
 Andy "
3 minutes ago
Andy Sheridan replied to Andy Sheridan's discussion Tricky customer
""
20 minutes ago
Andy Sheridan replied to Andy Sheridan's discussion Tricky customer
"Hi Andy,
that would seem to be the problem.
I’ve attached a photo of the area in question. We put the gravel drive, block paved threshold and gates in place. The (steeper) tarmac section was already in place. 
The nearest part of the gravel section…"
36 minutes ago
Andrew Betteridge replied to Andy Sheridan's discussion Tricky customer
1 hour ago
Andrew Betteridge replied to Andy Sheridan's discussion Tricky customer
"I’m trying to picture what has happened in my head.
Is there are problem with clay heave? Is the clay pushing the membrane up through the stone?
 Andy "
1 hour ago
Andy Sheridan posted a discussion
Hi all,I’m new on here. Read through some of the threads and have to say I’m very impressed by the advice and knowledge which is being shared.So, perhaps some of you might be able help me put my mind at ease.I have a small company based in Leamingto…
2 hours ago
adrian Stoute is now a member of Hard Landscaping Group
3 hours ago
Ben Carter replied to Neal Rollingson's discussion Tree planting prices?
"Its funny that any rootballed stock that i have planted have done Ok its just the bare root stuff! glad its not just me!
 "
3 hours ago
Scott H replied to David Benson's discussion Bakker,s
3 hours ago
Trevor Stephens posted a discussion
Hi all,One of my clients has a large pond that they now wish to fill in for safety due to new baby and the potential for disaster.They are happy to have it converted into a plant bed, however the initial priority is water out and then filled with th…
4 hours ago
David Benson posted a discussion
i have herd on the grape vine that Bakker of spalding have gon bust for £33M, any body else herd anything my mum is a bit concernd as she has some outstanding plants that are paid for and cannot contact them tried three differant tel no 
5 hours ago
Colin Hunt replied to Ian Bridgford's discussion Repointing a patio
"If the slabs are not soundly bedded, you are opening a can of worms Ian. It could be that the reason for the pointing failing is slight movement, in which case yours could do the same.  
450 X 450 slabs wont take a lot of knocking to dislodge even t…"
8 hours ago
Colin Hunt replied to Neal Rollingson's discussion Tree planting prices?
"I reckon that just about covers it Gary!"
8 hours ago
Colin Hunt replied to Neal Rollingson's discussion Tree planting prices?
"Birch just seem to take exception to being dug up and moved. 
Mind you, we had to move a beautiful 20 years old specimen from an enclosed garden quadrangle which was being redeveloped.  When access was available, we called in Ruskins who soon had it…"
8 hours ago
lee boyce replied to Judi Samuels's discussion Timber groynes installation..
" Would mix concrete up as alot stronger than postcrete which will break up as sleepers are heavy"
13 hours ago
Phil Voice replied to Judi Samuels's discussion Timber groynes installation..
"A little tip.
To kickstart aging of bolts, pop them in a bbq for an hour (especially if they are galvanised). 
 "
15 hours ago
More…

Tricky customer

Hi all, I’m new on here. Read through some of the threads and have to say I’m very impressed by the advice and knowledge which is being shared. So, perhaps some of you might be able help me put my mind at ease. I have a small company based in…

Read more…
5 Replies · Reply by Andrew Betteridge 3 minutes ago

Bakker,s

i have herd on the grape vine that Bakker of spalding have gon bust for £33M, any body else herd anything my mum is a bit concernd as she has some outstanding plants that are paid for and cannot contact them tried three differant tel no 

Read more…
2 Replies · Reply by Scott H 3 hours ago