About us, staff and CV
Mr. Sandro Cafolla T/a Design By
Nature (Est' 1990)
We are Ireland's Premier Wildflower
Nature: DBN is a micro SME business, concentrating on the art of craft horticulture and heritage
We are the first conservation business to
wholly supply native species and are the Market Leader.
We are the only
seed company in the world to guarantee its seed products for 3 years.
Our aim to to make it easy
for you and to stand by you as you endeavor to grow wildflowers.
We supply Trade and Public
Started in 1990, 'Design By Nature' gets its
from our work to protect nature through flora and esp' in
We are committed conservationists who use
business as a channel to carry out our activities,
of saving plant species
from extinction, instead of being a charity,
we are in business to act
independently and as free thinkers.
All our customers support our
We are the only Irish company to start up, specialising,
solely in growing native sourced Irish wildflowers,
with a mission to earn profit
not for its own sake, but to generate funds for our work of nature - plant
We co-founded the start of genetic
conservation and biodiversity protection,
the organic movement and the Alliance
for Safety and Health, prior to the establishment of the HSE.
We believe in the right to a
fulfilling livelihood - to do best, what we believe in most, and practice
what we preach.
We farm and garden crops both organically and
conventionally and use very low inputs of non-organic materials, always
tending to more sustainability than less. If we recommend using herbicides
it will be only short term to establish chemical free systems.
You can trust our products and services, as we
have photographed and displayed the results of all aspects of seed growing
and of our nature conservation protects and are well known as an innovators
and have established many downstream areas of trade in the horticulture
Today the industry we pioneered, employs hundreds of
professionals from scientists to eco gardeners and in many other fields.
indeed there are now a number of higher education routes into this
industry. Such is our success that many other countries wildflower
industries has copied our mixtures and products.
Mr. Sandro Cafolla the owner manager of DBN, has worked as a
'self educated' self-employed horticulturist and wildflower grower and
sustainable ecosystem designer since 1976. Sandro is the business manager, marketer, sales person and chief
As an 'unofficial' expert in establishing native ecosystems using native sourced
flora, Sandro's advice is called in on a daily basis by the entire
industry from road design to Biodiversity projects. From school and
private gardens to Parks, tourism and golf.
The service is free to all.
"Where ever I go, I see an opportunity
to utilise and conserve native species. Biodiversity
protection demands a value for flora,
I put flora where it has uses, saving time or maintenance, saving species
of Fauna or simply just saving an uncommon or rare species, I grow them
for beauty, but most of all to teach about the diversity mix that's in a
meadow, I encourage everyone to just sit in a meadow and ask, how do
different tribes and species co-exist on planet earth ??? Customers ring
me looking for wild fields of tulips, I give them the truth and reality of
wildflowers, some do not like the service, most do.
Our nature conservation work began in 1974, as Bird watchers
for Birdwatch Ireland then called IWC. I progressed from Anti-nuclear
movement to anti-uranium mining, then realized that direct action in doing
stuff was better than protesting about not doing stuff.. As my Dad
survived Nazi punishment camps and I survived Blackrock collage's
degrading schooling, I have a healthy disrespect for unnecessary
authority, hence why I say to staff, If this business cannot make a
difference we need to step aside. but since no one else is doing it, were
gonna forge ahead by hook or by crook, no matter what the job, what it
takes, we will do it and no one will thank us, dont seek glory and if any
one else tries to ride our band wagon tell em 'up dyard' either do the job
yourself or hop it. That way we control
our own destiny.
in 2005 - financial controller and administrates the business
back office accounts. June has many years experience in Administration, HR
Monica Fleming joined
DBN in 1994, and has worked ever since as our resident Horticulturalist.
Monica is fully qualified in many aspects of horticulture and practices rare species
conservation and seed harvesting and cleaning.
joined fulltime in 2015 after years of seasonal work, Martin is
involved in seed harvesting and cleaning.
DBN also engages commercial growers, with whom we jointly
grow all our crops
The Government of Ireland: DBN has been consulted on many national projects, or supplied product and advice to:
NDP, NPWS, Duchas, OPW, An Foras Forbirtha. DAF, DAFF, DAFM, DAFFnF, ESB, Bord
Gáis, Coillte, Irish Waterways, D.O.E. VEC. FAS. INTO, NRA
and Bord Gas, to name a few.
Works include national infrastructure
design, parks and roadside projects and other major works some of which listed
elsewhere on this web site.
Public Sector Customers over 20 years: range from QVC TV to Many Irish Garden Centres, from
Schools to Kew Gardens, from Vodafone to the New York Irish Hunger Memorial Garden. In that time
we have developed entirely new processes, new products, and introduced thousands to horticulture to through public trade shows.
All Ireland's leading Landscape Contractors and Architects are customers and many often regularly purchases from DBN. We have provided our 'Educat' services to many firms and agencies, to assist in growing our products and managing the landscape for nature.
Supplier to Teagasc / EU / Biodiversity Research Project re Biodiversity
and Native Flora
Seed, advice and services to :
450 private gardens supplied with native
Supply and Planting of locally sourced seed and bog plants to the Corrib
Onshore pipeline. Subcontracting to Roadbridge and Sepil via EACS and
Sowing even more Wildflower on the M9 Carlow Bypass.
Client Kildare CoCo and Peter o'Brien l/s
Supply Dunlaoire Co Council, First Supplied in1994
List of profile wildflower sowings
Filmed by 'Ear to the
Ground' Kilkenny Castle sown in 2011
Apple facility. Cork.
Dublin City Council
Kildare Co Council, ongoing
Fota Island Wildlife Park
Waterways Ireland Project
Doolin Cave, ongoing
Irish National Stud
Lough Boora - Bord na Mona
Wyeth Nestle biodiversity
sowing at Limerick facility
Blarney Castle Ongoing
2014 3rd Wildflower Open
2013 List of profile wildflower sowings for
IDL, storage facilityN2 link road roundabouts
Swords By Pass Roundabouts
M9 Carlow By Pass, specialist wildflower /
Our latest challenge...DBN
Wildflowers on the M9 Carlow bypass sectionCork Airport
Kildare Biodiversity projects
Limerick Biodiversity Project
Blainrow Golf Course, Wicklow
Nass Golf Club
2nd wildflower Open day
Secret garden RTE TV gardening and RTE
Coolmoney Camp, Glen of Imaal Artillery Range headquarters,a wildflower
sowing for The Irish ArmySupplied seed to parks in Dublin Areas, Fingal
and Limerick. Supplied design advice and seeds to parks, roads, community
projects. Very poor harvest year, wet weather destroyed many crops.
Conservation works for private clients includes Tuam Waterworks, as
design, seed and plant supplier.
2011: Great seed harvest year, 1st wildflower open day, DBN open field crops up
for public viewing
Many sites sown.
Supply of Seed To Fingal, South Dublin and many
other Co Councils.
Belvedere house garden talks
Doonbeg golf course
Dublin zoo seed and plant supply
Seed supply to Mr Middleton mail order gardening
Castletown House, wildflower meadows
Limerick City Council wildflower meadows
Landtech soils, roof garden mixtures
Waterford Co Co. Dungarven landfill seed supply
2009: DBN helps establish Quickcrop with advice, they even copied our seed mats.
2009: Seed supplied to Waterways Ireland
2009: The Eden project, UK
2009: Moate of Ardscull park, is regarded as the best wildflower meadow of '09.
2009: DBN was awarded grant aid assistance from Bord Bia, (formally board Glás). The Award was for a small grant towards web development and marketing.
2009: Seed supply To WEE Energy recycling Project
2008: DBN sows largest roadside to date in Ireland for N8 Cullahill to
Cashel. Finds rare annual Chamomile and Cornflower growing on disturbed
soil on roadside, seed is collect and re-propagated, vigour of both
species very poor
2008: DBN supplies Post Bank seed giveaway
2008: DBN sows NPWS esker Ridge Banagher, SSI, highely specilist conservation works
2007. DBN starts constructing phase 3 of our new web site.
2006. DBN finishes its new seed house.
2006. DBN completes the first stage of the layout of 14
acres of landscape gardens at Ballintubbert House and Heritage Gardens, Co
2006. DBN Supplies and landscapes St Johns Wood,
Stradbally, Co Waterford, a housing estate of thatched cottages.
2005. DBN Supplies Seed and advice to Kilkenny Bypass, and Flood
2005. DBN Supplies Seed to Kerry earth project
2005. DBN Supplies Design To Nano Nagle
2005. DBN Supplies Seed to UCD Belfield, Reed bed trials.
2005. DBN Supplies Seed to Newbridge Tidy Town
2005. DBN Supplies Seed and advice to Tymon Park, Co. Dublin.
2005. DBN supplies Elma Fenton with Flora for Chelsea
2004. DBN supplies seed to Sligo by-pass.
2004: DBN Supplies 2nd phase to M50 Motorway,
2004. DBN Supplies Seed to Blarney Castle
2004. Best New Product. Kildare growers trade show.
2003: DBN supplies wildflower seed mixtures to South
Sandro address INTO teachers
conference on Children and the Environment.
2003: DBN supplies, Plants
to Kew Gardens Biodiversity Garden.
2003: DBN supplies seeds to Huston
DBN supplies flora for a
meadow for E.P.A.
Environmental Protection Agency, Johnstown, Co Wexford.
DBN supplies flora for Knockranny Castle
Hotel, Westport. Co Mayo,
DBN supplies flora for St Bridits Garden, Due open 2004,
DBN supplies flora for Duchas Newgrange,
National Heritage Centre.
2003 DBN supplies seeds for Muskerry Golf Course,
DBN supplies flora for Coolmore Stud,
2002: Year 2002 is the worst weather year for harvesting seeds,
since the start up of DBN in 1990, yet we won another harvest.
DBN supplies flora for Millennium
Industrial Park, Naas.
DBN contracted to supply Luas
line with site specific native local flora.
DBN supplies flora for Knocksink
DBN supplies flora for Ferrybank,
Cliff top planting in Waterford.
DBN start work on SEM50
collecting native flora and sowing embankments.
DBN supplies Duchas /
Battle of the Boyne Field Second phase of project started
June 2002 DBN attends opening of Irish
Hunger Memorial Garden, to which we supplied advice, plants and
seeds New York Times
2002 DBN supplies flora for
Muskerry Golf Course
Sandro address INTO teachers
conference on Children and the Environment
DBN supplies flora for Belleek
Castle, Co Mayo
DBN supplies flora for research project for UCD
DBN supplies flora for Landfill
site at Powerstown. Carlow.
March 01 2002: DBN launches
and DBN create new trade agreement and end of joint venture
DBN supplied wildflowers for the Award winning Celtic garden at The Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower show 2002
2002; Re-Awarded Contract to Supply QVC TV St.
Patrick's Day Irish Sales Day for 4th year in a row. QVC TV THE WORLDS LARGEST RETAILER
2002: Supplier to Battery Park City Irish Memorial Hunger Garden
2001 update. ARLES National School wins National Schools gardening competition. DBN are the designers
of the main feature in the school
2000 -2001; Sandro writes chapters in many publications such as Landscaping Landfill sites for the
2000 DBN supplies seed for
Cabinteely Park;s - New wildflower meadow
2001 AND 2002: Client; Duchas: Supply seed mix for the Battle of the Boyne Heritage Fields
2001; Re-Awarded Contract to Supply QVC TV St.
Patrick's Day Irish Sales Day for 3rd year in a row. QVC TV THE WORLDS LARGEST RETAILER
2001: Client; Duchas: Supplier of National Annual Gene Bank Seed Collections to
National Park, Annual Gene Bank
2001 Client; Duchas: Supply seed mix for Dundalk seaside
reclamation and road project
2000; Client; Maynooth Fisheries. Sow pond edges plants and seed, Site
Submissions; Green 2000, D.A.F.
/ Biodiversity, Cornflower Response.
2000: RTE Nationwide feature on business activities.
2000: Re-Awarded Contract to Supply QVC TV St.
Patrick's Day Irish Sales Day for 2nd year in a row. QVC TV THE WORLDS LARGEST RETAILER
1999: Full page feature Cork/Irish Examiner for the launch of the first Mallow Garden festival. DBN attended many garden festivals in the late 1990's
1999: Willow Design and DBN. Awarded Contract to Supply QVC TV St.
Patrick's Day Irish Sales Day . QVC TV THE WORLDS LARGEST RETAILER.
Bord Bia (Horizons Food Marketing Trade Show 1997, with Images to represent Irelands 4 Billion food trade)
1997; Assisted European runner up 'Schools Wildlife Garden Project' with Cabinteely Girls School.
1997: Radio 1 Science and Technology Program on DBN and our roll in the business of Biodiversity.
Design By Nature CV
1996: Products on Late Late Show Enterprise Program.
1996 Client; Old head of Kinsale Golf Course, after much debate we decided to take on a difficult job, under difficult circumstances, see the results for yourself, not properly maintained but
surviving difficult conditions
1995: Well known Irish patron awards DBN a no interest capital sum to fund growth.
1995: Joint Venture with Willow Design and Publishing captures global market for High Quality Giftware and is recognised as a market leader.
1995 Client; Duchas: Sow roof garden, National Heritage Centre, Dunbonye, Co Meath at Newgrange. site left uncut
1994: Joint Venture formed with Willow Design & Publishing to export market seed filled greeting cards and giftware.
START OF TRIALS OF WILDFLOWERS AT OAK PARK RESEARCH STATION 1994-98 Ref Dr. Tom Thomas.
Co founder of Genetic Resources Trust, Irish Organic Growers &
Alliance for Safety & Health. Anita Hayes of The Irish Seed Savers, Charlie Spillane and Sandro, Meet in Sandro's Home to prepare a talk on the importance of plant
Biodiversity prior to the Rio Earth Summit The presentation (slides and a talk by Sandro) is brought to the Department of Agriculture. After the meeting the Genetic Resources Trust gets the official backing of the Department and the
Trust is launched. The Dept' agree to move Sandro and all his plants into the Oakpark research station.
Corporate clients include Shell Ireland (Seed, script and images to 3500 schools). QVC TV, Timotea Shampoo and many others
1990: Design By Nature Market Entry:
1988: Design By Nature Start Up. R&D Phase. National Collection of wildflowers is made of over 180 different species all tested in the gardens of many patrons
1988: Design By Nature find EEC grant for the conservation of species and notifies Dr. Tom Curtis
(wildlife Service) about 118,000 ECU.
Trinity Collage's Botanical Department get the grant, at the start of the Irish Genetic Resources Conservation Trust.
1988. Design with Dr. M. Tuberty for the First Irish Blue Flag Award in Ireland for Killiney Beach, South Dublin.
1988; The Cornflower Response
is Published with assistance from V.E.C & Mr. Steven Rekab of the Sage.
The Cornflower Response is a paper on our intention to grow native species and
wildflowers for conservation and Utilisation.
Published to ENFO and given to all governments departments, we got few
replies, But Parks and Wildlife did comment and we had meetings.
The out come is Not to im[port species, which we still do not unless a crop
fails or we are trying to re-establish extinct species.
Following publication of RED DATA Book Design By Nature alert public to the decline of native flora in Ireland. Design by Nature publishes (The Cornflower Response), ##.
The Conservation and Utilisation of Wild flora. Our Document of intent to work with native flora.
The Cornflower Response is sent to over 200 botanists and environmental groups, Government Departments and NGO's. In the report we ask for a response to our intent to utilise native flora
and we seek advice.
Only two replies are forthcoming,
1) Dr Tom Curtis. Senior botanist with then forestry and Wildlife Service, O.P.W. now Duchas. Dr Curtis raised the concept of not importing non native seeds.
2) Dr Donal Synnot. Later appointed Director of National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. Dr Synnot suggests that since Native Flora are being imported anyway its best that we grow crops
only from Irish sourced seed.
Both Botanists would prefer if the flora of Ireland was not endangered and that we did not need to tamper with landscape. We still inform both Botanists of our work.
Galway Arts Festival Meadow parade.
Avondale Bark mulch Product Designer.
Wavin (Ire). First European outdoor Industrial Safety and
Health landscape design.
The Wildflower & Environmental Outreach Education Service
Design by Nature's Wildflower Education and Training Service Catalogue.
Launched at 7th March 1987 with European Year of Environment 1987.
Funded By E.U. Environmental Training. 1990-92. Initial funding through SAGE, City of Dublin VEC.
Talk attendance and Trainees to date ; 34,000 , at Gardening Festivals & Clubs, to societies, senior level
D.A.F. staff and most universities and horticultural collages including ANCO, FAS, VEC &
Teagasc and botanical students.
Awards won by clients helped by EDUCAT;
Winners of Nations in Bloom (under 10000 Category),
Ford Conservation Awards,
NI Amenity Council Best Kept Award,
Ulster in Bloom,
Britain in Bloom, AIB Better Ireland.
1st E.U. Blue Ribbon Beech Award 1997-98
& Queen Mother's Birthday award ,
Trade; Blue Ribbon New Product Awards 1995, & 96,1998;
member of team receives E.U./VEC Adult Education Teaching Certificate.
1987 European Year of the Environment
Permaculture Bookmark / link to below
Hosted the first Irish Permaculture course with R. Webb.
Tutor Dan Hemingway
Course 3 weeks, covered Permaculture Design, LETS. Aquaculture Design. Forestry, Sustainable landscape
planning, Urban Gardening and much more.
Introduction of Lets, wildflower growing, Permaculture & Green Cities To Ireland.
1986 Co founder of Irish Organic Growers.
1985 Sandro moves from Dublin to current location and establishes nursery.
1984 Selling organic compost and designing nature Friendly gardens.
1983 - Co founder of Alliance for Safety & Health. Sandro produces first ever report on the toxic
chemical industry of Northern Ireland and identifies toxic dumps. Report presented at the first meeting of Alliance for Safety & Health at
1981 Belfast A Collective.
1980 -1981 Anti-Uranium Mining
1978 -1981 Anti-nuclear activist at Carnsore festival.
see RTE new archive on our social media website,
1976 Sandro Cafolla while at school, starts commercial gardening in South Dublin and notices the lack of wildlife friendly plants in gardens that have been landscaped.
Sandros family were for 3 generations in business in
Ireland, Scotland and Italy.