Newlina Zucchini Flowers

Beth Druce visits Newlina Eco Garden


A seasonal favourite, Fifteen Cornwall’s zucchini flowers are a real labour of love. Fifteen Stories visited Paul and Laura Salmon to learn about their ten year journey to develop a sustainable eco garden in Cornwall.

Newlina Eco-garden is a social enterprise. They grow and promote ecological gardens for food, wellbeing and wildlife. All the profits are used to provide eco gardens and greener futures for the local community.

“We are always looking for ecological ways of doing things”.  Laura and Paul feel they have a responsibility to other species and to future generations, to provide food and habitats and also to reduce waste and use of resources. Hence the drip lines to reduce water and the biodegradable ground cover, the packaging to reduce landfill and the organic treatments so they aren’t introducing poisons and they are building soil health. In their view there is no point growing stuff unless they do so ecologically.

Paul was on the Prince’s Trust business start-up scheme. His mentor recommended they approach Fifteen Cornwall as a prospective supplier. Since then they have been growing to order and supplying the restaurant up to four times a week in the height of the season. It makes sense ecologically because they are so close in proximity; it really is local food.

It’s not an easy job producing zucchini flowers.  They have taken years to get the zucchini flower production down to a fine art and even now things can go wrong. For example, if it is damp the fruit can rot, if it is hot they can be hard to keep watered. They have to be on call every day for the five months they are in season to pick them just when they are ready, which can be anywhere between 11 am to 3pm depending on the temperatures.

Laura and Paul want to raise funds to create a forest garden area for wellbeing and learning in their field.  It would be full of edible and useful plants with people spaces, shelters and an outdoor cooking area. There would also be advanced composting to increase availability of organic matter and provide energy.

The name Newlina comes from the local Celtic saint. She journeyed from Ireland and walked up the hill above the site. She put her walking stick in the soil and it took root and sprouted into a fig tree which grows to this day out of the Church at St Newlyn East. Like most holy people of her day, she established an enclosure where she would have grown food and herbs for the local people.

Support Newlina with their crowd funding project

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