Before writing my novel, “The Memories That Make Us”, set on a fictional flower farm in Victoria’s Daylesford in the heart of Spa Country, I gave little thought to where our flowers actually came from. It was shortly after I began my flower research that I learned that a percentage of the fresh blooms we enjoy are actually imported from overseas. It was at the same time that I stumbled upon a growing floral movement, referred to as a ‘Slow Flower’ movement, comprised of a collective of small-scale, local flower farmers committed to producing low-tox, sustainable blooms with a ‘grown-not-flown’ philosophy.
Many of these heart-stoppingly beautiful farms are located in the Macedon Ranges, and offer farmgate sales, hands-on workshops or Open Paddock Days where people can explore the fields of colour and in some cases, cut their own stems to take home.
There was something magical about my visits to some of these farms, and as I wandered through rows of fragrant blooms, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for these precious gifts from nature. As I worked on my novel, I found myself creating my own cut flower garden in suburban Melbourne, starting with a selection of roses and peonies, and then trying my hand at growing flamboyant parrot tulips, ranunculi and showy dahlias. These days, I’m able to enjoy freshly harvested flowers in my home on a regular basis, but whenever I know I’ll be in the vicinity of a local flower farm, I take the opportunity to visit a farmgate to bring home an armload of freshly cut blooms straight from the grower.
For those wanting to support their local flower growers, or perhaps take a visit to a local flower farm, here’s a list of farms offering blooms for sale direct to the consumer.
Crofters Fold Estate – Located in Piper’s Creek, the folk at Crofters Fold Estate grow perfumed roses which flower between November and April. In mid-November, their peonies come to life for a short blooming window in spring. They offer farmgate pickups and visits by prior arrangement. http://www.croftersfold.com.au/
Spring Hill Peony Farm– Nestled in Spring Hill, the peony paddock opens its gates for a select number of Open Days in November when the peonies are in bloom. Visitors can enjoy live music, a wander through the paddocks where they can pick their own stems. http://springhillpeonyfarm.com.au/open-day/
Country Dahlias – Located in Winchelsea, Victoria, this is a must-visit for anyone enamoured by dahlias. Jenny Parish runs this two-acre farm, boasting over 20,000 bushes. Visitors are welcome during the months of March and April when the paddocks pop with colour. This farm also offers tubers for sale for those wanting to grow their own dahlias! http://www.countrydahlias.com.au/
Acre of Roses – A one acre farm located in Trentham, Sandy grows a variety of roses, including the coveted David Austins, along with various cut flowers and foliage. They offer pre-ordered farmgate pickups as well as floral workshops (to come) and luxury accommodation for those wanting to enjoy a pampering getaway amongst a floral haven. http://www.acreofroses.com.au/
Fleurs de Lyonville – This flower farm, located in the hamlet of Lyonville, boasts a range of mixed cut flowers including dahlias, gladioli, sweet peas and ranunculi, with blooms available from approximately October through May. They offer a farmgate stall and pre-ordered pickups co-ordinated via Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/fleurs_de_lyonville/
About Vanessa Carnevale
Vanessa Carnevale is an author and freelance writer who has contributed to “The Green Parent”, “The Huffington Post”, “Muse”, and “Italy” magazine, among others. She is the author of “The Florentine Bridge” and “The Memories That Make Us”. She was a finalist in the Best New Author category for the AusRom Today Readers Choice Awards 2017. Vanessa is also the host of Your Beautiful Writing Life Retreats in Tuscany, Italy and Australia. She loves travel, tea, and flowers and often dreams of escaping to the country. You can connect with Vanessa on her website.
Main photo: Vanessa Carnevale with Flower Farmers, Danielle and Ash from Crofters Fold; Sandy Acres of Roses Janae Fleurs de Lyonville. Photo Credit: Angela Crawford.