Meet the woman who grows her own christmas cards!

PUBLISHED: 10:40 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:42 20 January 2020

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We speak with the artist who designs greeetings cards with a twist

Hannah Marchant, an artist, designer and printer from Somerset, has handcrafted a range of Christmas cards at her studio in Long Sutton ¬ but they're not just any Christmas cards.

They are the perfect eco¬friendly solution in that, come the spring, they can be planted out in the garden or in a container pot to grow into culinary herbs and vegetables or a colourful blaze of wildflowers. Made from recycled paper pulp which is embedded with seeds during the manufacturing process, the cards are not only compostable but, as they grow and blossom, permanently echo the greetings and good wishes of the friends or loved¬ones who sent them.

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, in various fun carrot designs, and a traditional snowman with his carrot nose, are featured in eight carrot¬seed cards in her 2019 Christmas selection, along with four floral designs embedded with wildflower seeds and a bumble bee range, also with wildflower seeds, with messages such as 'May your Christmas bee merry and bright' and 'Hap¬Bee Christmas'.

The wildflower seed paper contains a mix of bird's eye, clarkia, black eyed Susan, sweet alyssum, catchfly and snapdragon and the herb¬embedded paper, used in a number of her general portfolio of greetings cards, include dill, basil and parsley. There is also a new culinary range including thyme, chives and camomile, the latter with fun teapot designs and greetings such as 'You're tea¬riffic' and 'Time for a catch up'?

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After qualifying in textile printing and design at Nottingham Trent University, 31¬year¬old Hannah worked for seven years for a Somerset printing company before finally deciding to 'make the big leap' and open her own greetings card design and print company two years ago.

"When I was working for the printing company I used to spend a lot of my spare time at weekends and in the evenings designing cards and after my mum asked me to make a card for a special friend I decided to see how well my designs were received at the various trade shows before finally making the leap and starting my own business," she says.

For Hannah, who in July exhibited for the second year at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Show at Tatton Park, Cheshire, it is very much a one¬woman business, with just the occasional help from family and her partner, Jed, who has his own plastering business.

"The special paper is supplied ready to use but, apart from that, I sketch and paint all the designs and do all the printing, guillotining and creasing of the paper on dedicated machines that I have in the studio. It is very satisfying and rewarding to see the end products."

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All in all, including her Christmas range, Hannah has in excess of a 100 different grow cards covering just about every occasion from birthdays, weddings, new babies and anniversaries to the increasingly popular thanks¬to¬my¬teacher cards and, on a sadder note, 'so sorry' cards for friends and family who have lost a much¬loved pet.

"People can find these very comforting because the wildflowers can be planted around a family pet's grave," says Hannah.

Wildflower and herbs, as well as cats and dogs, boats and fishes, woodland wildlife scenes and the archetypal English country garden with its 'hap¬bee' and 'buzzin' bees feature throughout her catalogue, all with one common¬denominator they can all be planted and grow.

All the seeds cards are approved by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the seeds themselves are NON¬GMO (non¬genetically modified organism). "For the best germination the seed cards should be planted within two years but they will grow beyond that," Hannah says.

In just two years Hannah has established outlets for her grow cards at 45 shops throughout the UK in addition to three overseas ¬ in France, the Netherlands and Italy ¬ and is optimistic that many more will follow. Apart from the greetings cards, she also produces a range of gift tags from paper that cannot easily be creased because of the pot¬luck position of the seeds and a selection of ceramic drinking mugs with wildflower designs. "I may even extend the range in time," she says.

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