Our District

Kokedama ball buzz at Coastella

by Vanessa Crowe, Sustainable Communities Coordinator

Hanging from my kitchen window are my newly adopted plant pets, aka Kokedama balls. These cute balls sprouting  flower plants and herbs are what remained at the end of the Green Team’s workshop at the Coastella Music Festival. I am delighted to watch them continue to grow and flower.

Sun, great music, a cool venue and a happy, positive vibe were an excellent combination of things that made for a great day out at Coastella in late February. We, the Council Green Team were there offering a spot of gardening for the festival goers - possibly not what you’d expect to see at a music festival!

The gardening idea came about earlier in the summer when talking to Coastella organisers about their zero waste aspirations. They were keen really demonstrate zero waste practice in an engaging way and were looking for ideas for the kids zone, as so often well intended craft activities result in a spread of itsy bitsy waste across the venue.

After some thought and discussion, Green Gardener Hannah Zwartz and I came up with the idea of a Kokedama ball making workshop - having seen the this ancient Japanese craft of making a hanging garden as part of Mayme Chanwai's Eco Art project.

The beauty of a Kokedama ball lies in its organic form and the fact that the garden is completely self contained. A combination of soil, clay and moss enclosed in coconut husk and twine providing the perfect conditions for small herbs, hanging flowers, ferns or succulents to grow.

We weren’t sure how interested people would be in gardening at a music festival, so our expectations were surpassed when we a constant stream of children and adults came to make over a hundred balls. Some leaving wearing their growing creation as an elaborate fashion pendant. The playing in mud part was instantly alluring and was an excellent way to demonstrate zero waste in action while teaching children (and adults) about gardening and how to care for a plant.

Here’s a handy infographic to show you how to do it at home. There are lots of small variations in tutorial instructions, just ask Google.  At Coastella, we pre-prepared a soil mix of ⅓ potting mix. ⅓ moss and ⅓ clay which helped make the process simple and accessible for all ages. You can also purchase a kit from Magic Moss who are suppliers of sustainably sourced sphagnum moss. Once done they require very little attention, just a soak in a basin of water over week to ten days -  the perfect low maintanence pet.