For extreme gardeners, shotgun shells full of seed


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Categories: Green

"A new way to sew seed," announces an Indiegogo campaign that is about to hit its target less than 48 hours after launch. No, its creator Per Cromwell is not making any kind of untoward innuendo. He is in fact selling shotgun shells filled with flower seeds in a wonderful attempt to turn something designed for destruction into a creative, life-giving tool that could make the world a more beautiful place. 

"I like gardens more than gardening. I also like guns more than killing," Cromwell tells Wired.co.uk, explaining the driving impetus behind the design. "I was thinking there must be a more fun way to garden and a more useful way of using guns. It started out like an art project and it grew, no pun intended."


"I like the idea of turning as many shotguns as possible into flower guns. I don't think we can plant too many flowers"
Per Cromwell, Studio Total cofounder
Cromwell is cofounder of the ever-inventive Studio Total in Sweden, which seems to continually strive to outdo itself with each new incredulous design venture, from flying carpets for pets to a an EEG headset that translates your dog's every thought, part of offshoot MiCasa's R&D. They've created a rocking chair that charges your iPad and an indoor cloud that works as a weather forecasting machine, but Flower Shell is probably its first foray into anything verging on serious social commentary -- put beautifully simply by Cromwell, he created Flower Shell because "I like the idea of turning as many shotguns as possible into flower guns. I don't think we can plant too many flowers… I have no real problems with real guns for hunting but I can't stop feeling it's better with seeds than lead."

"Removing lead for seeds is almost a symbolic action"
Per Cromwell, Studio Total cofounder
The product is all made by hand, with Cromwell going through the time consuming process of opening up existing shotgun shells, removing the lead, filling them with the seeds and then using paper and fabric to create a barrier so those seeds are protected from the direct blast. Cromwell embraces the meticulous work, explaining "every shell made gives you a rewarding feeling. Removing lead for seeds is almost a symbolic action".

It took a while to experiment with the amount of gunpowder needed for each seed type -- there's columbine, cornflower, daisy, poppy, sunflower, clematis, lavender, sweet pea, lupine, carnation, peony and various meadow flowers. Load too much gunpowder though, and the seeds could explode on impact. Equally, it will be even more dangerous -- Cromwell warns that the shells should be used with caution as if they contained only lead and firepower. "A peony seed fired at close range is dangerous. Very dangerous. You can't be to careful, and I don't want this to cause anything bad."


Each shot contains between ten and 100 seeds, depending on the species. The smaller poppy seeds, for instance, end up at about 100 per shell, and Cromwell estimates that to fill an average-sized garden it will take about 20 shots.

"The flower shell also adds a randomness to the seeding which I like"
Per Cromwell, Studio Total cofounder
"Water, wait, water and then watch the small flowers grow into big flowers," he advises, sagely.

"I recommend patience, remember that gardening is a very slow act. Plant, wait a season, see how it spreads and then adjust and adopt. The flower shell also adds a randomness to the seeding which I like." It's worth the time and patience. Cromwell has already populated a field only using the Flower Shells -- "walking through a field of meadow flowers, cornflowers, daisies and poppies an early summer Sunday morning made me realise, this was working. This flourishing field was my creation. It was all done with 142 shotgun shells."

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