published Friday, July 8th, 2011

Seed Pops offer hassle-free way to garden

Seed Pops are self-contained garden balls.
Seed Pops are self-contained garden balls. Contributed

• What: Seed Pops, self-contained garden balls

• Company: 505

• Website:

• Telephone: 304-8243

• Owner: Katherine Rowe

• What’s special: Seed Pops are hand-rolled using Georgia clay and local wildflower species that are adapted to the region’s climate, attract native pollinators and will not displace other native plants. By using an organic outer paper shell that softens when it rains, Seed Pops provide a hassle-free way to garden, Rowe said.

• The origin story: Rowe’s background is in landscape architecture and design. She began thinking in 2010 of low-maintenance ways to plant urban spaces such as medians and vacant lots. After doing permaculture research into planting methods, Rowe said she came across seed ball planting, which is common in Native American and Japanese cultures. She began making the balls as gifts for friends, and they went on sale at Blue Skies Gifts in January. The balls also are carried by retailers in Nashville; Austin, Texas; and New York City.

• How long does it take to make: Rowe said she can produce at a daily rate of several hundred pops, which are then sold to retailers in shipments of a dozen packages of 20 pops.

• Where it’s sold: Online at or at Blue Skies Gifts and Greenlife Grocery.

• What it costs: A package of 20 pops typically costs $10.95.

• Future expansions planned: Rowe said she would like to expand into bulk packaging for use in green roofing projects, schools and other large-scale urban planning operations. She said she also would like to expand her product line to include grasses, in addition to wildflower species.

• Lessons of the trade: “I’ve run the whole gamut of learning how a wholesale operation works and what works for retail season, in terms of buying seasons, customers and packaging networks,” Rowe said. “Getting the word out is the hardest part but also the most essential part.”

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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