SeeHow your plants flower throughout the year

A new garden design tool for growth & colour planning

Seehow started life as a series of simple plant sketches one late winter afternoon – maybe the best time to plan your next spring garden. Every gardener knows the joy of unrestrained and bold plans –  alternative plant options and colours for even the smallest patch of soil. We usually imagine our gardens in full bloom, but we all also know that reaching this point requires work and perhaps a bit of luck too, as each plant has its own lifecycle – when and how it grows and flowers during the year. Multiply this by 20 or 30 different plants and it is quite a challenge to imagine what will happen and when. Would it help to be able to see the plants in all their stages, during the garden planning process? Would it help to actually see them changing from month-to-month before making your plant choices? To see them growing from first shy buds, through flowering to dark seed pods in the autumn?

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On that late winter afternoon, Wicek Sosna, who tends to his allotment in Berkshire, started to draw a few flowers just for himself – unusual sketches showing the whole lifecycle of the plants – to help his imagination. But quickly his idea took on a life of its own as he realised that it could help everybody and anybody to plan their gardens – no experience necessary! There followed a few years of researching, gathering information and transforming his plant sketches into illustrations called ‘Plantsticks’. Each one shows the annual cycle of a single plant. And so a brand-new product was created, called ‘SeeHow’, containing drawings of 140 popular garden plants.

The whole process of designing and producing SeeHow was not free of difficult moments – dilemmas and choices. How to present flowers that differ dramatically in size in the same way? How to show both daisies and Verbascum on the same size plantstick? What kind of technical information should be included on the reverse-side of a plantstick? And finally – which flowers to choose to be illustrated? At first Wicek chose 200 plants and from these 140 are now available in the Seehow Vol 1. Each plantstick also provides basic information such as the size and spread of the plant, preferences for sun or shade, soil type, typical garden uses and even if the flower is loved by bees and other pollinators.

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The launch of SeeHow took place in December last year. This may seem a bit risky in the middle of a pandemic, but Wicek had no doubts it could be useful for many people who turned to nature and their garden spaces in the difficult months of lockdown . In addition, we all know about the beneficial impact of gardening on our mental health (and fitness too!).  SeeHow is not only a helpful tool to use to design your garden, but it can also be a source of comfort when you can just ‘play’ with the different versions of your garden indoors – even if you do not have one yet!

It is encouraging to read the positive messages from the first customers and to see that copies of SeeHow have found homes from the far north – the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye to the far south – warm and mild Devon and Cornwall. Unexpectedly for such a brand-new product from a one-man company, there are orders coming from abroad, too – from America, Germany, France, Slovakia and Ireland.

However, Wicek never stops and now new products are under development as part of the SeeHow family. SeeHow will be a perfect educational tool for schools, as fundamentally it works visually and quickly – no gardening expertise necessary. A picture really does paint 1,000 words! Children will soon be able to use larger format plantsticks to plan their school gardens and then enjoy observing the stages of growth and bloom. New volumes of different plants are also in the pipeline. For the time being, enjoy the amazing selection of 140 hand-drawn illustrations of flowers evolving through their different stages of life, with all their tiny details and beauty.

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