The Winter Creek Flowers journey is ever evolving. It's been an organic process that started with no more than a vague desire to work with nature, flowers in particular, and then slowly grew into a dream that I would one day have my own floral business. For a long time the details were hazy. Back in 2003, when this photo was taken on a trip to Paris, I still wasn’t sure what my dream would look like in real life, but I knew that somehow I was going to make it happen.
(Image: A younger me in Paris, 2003)
I grew up in the countryside, on a family farm, and much of my childhood was spent outdoors where I made daisy chains with friends, collected wildflowers on rambles with my Mum and helped out in my grandparent's garden every chance I got.
So, a passion for nature was always there, but it wasn't until that Parisian holiday that I realised this was something I wanted more of in my life. What I remember most about that time in Paris (apart from getting engaged, but that’s another story) was the utter joy I felt as I flitted from one beautiful florist shop to another. I remember how inspired I felt and how my head was full of ideas and flower-filled dreams.
In the years that followed, I studied floristry, joined growers groups and made industry connections. All of this had to happen around my busy ‘day job’ so it was still quite a while before things really began to gel for me.
The catalyst to take action finally came when my husband and I moved permanently to our little farm in Central Victoria and I began to have the time and mental space I needed to plan and start making my dreams a reality.
After researching the possibilities and what we thought might grow best, we decided to trial a lavender crop. The first step was to learn more, so I signed up for another course, this time on lavender growing. I learned a lot from those studies and built up my confidence until I was ready to take the next step and implement my new found knowledge. That first year, we invested in 500 lavender tubestock. I remember how we laboured under a searing March sun to get them in the ground. It was undeniably hard work, but I was happy and excited for the future and honestly loved every minute of it. Each year since then we’ve added another few hundred plants and now have almost 2000 lavender plants growing, with more to come!
There’s so much I love about our lavender crop. The fragrance of course, and how beautiful they look in bloom, but more than that, the rituals of harvest time have become important in our lives. It’s a time to relax over evening meals with family and friends who have spent the day helping us. It’s also an opportunity to spend time with my nephews and nieces who also come along to help with the harvest. While we cut and bunch, we have the time for conversations, to connect more deeply, and for me to stay in touch with what’s happening in their lives.
The Cut Flower Garden
Once our lavender project was established, I began to wonder what else I should grow. Ideas started pinging and thanks to my ever-supportive husband we built a rabbit and kangaroo-proof fence, carving off a small area where I could safely grow cut flowers. This little patch now encompasses about 50 rose bushes, various perennials and a seasonal array of cut flowers including iris, tulips, ranunculus and dahlias. We are dedicated to growing our flowers without sprays and everything we produce is hand-weeded and cared for. And yes, it’s time consuming! But it’s also a surprisingly relaxing approach and ultimately, it's incredibly rewarding to see our beautiful healthy flowers and know they have been sustainably grown, without damage to the environment around them.
(Image: Flowers from the garden)
After a while I realised that I wanted to share what I was learning and the many benefits I was experiencing with others. The idea to hold flower workshops was born and I was thrilled to be able to lease the perfect studio space in Maldon. That happened in early 2020 and since then, and despite ongoing lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions, Winter Creek Flowers has regularly held workshops at the studio and also via Zoom. They are always an opportunity for participants to relax and be creative. I love to see the uniquely beautiful arrangements they design and make, and to be there to support and guide them as they do so.
Flourish with Flowers
Although I was initially hesitant about how it would work, teaching over Zoom has broadened my thinking. It’s helped me see that there are other ways of delivering our workshops. Right now, I’m working on developing our very first online course. It’s called Flourish with Flowers and it represents the next stage of the Winter Creek Flowers journey. My hope is that this course will be an opportunity to not only learn valuable floristry skills, but to offer time and space for participants to slow down, get into flow, be creative and to connect with a bunch of other flower-loving people.
Whatever happens next in this floral adventure, I know that the benefits of being in contact with nature are immense, and that I will always want to share those benefits as widely as I can. I'll continue to do this through our flower farm and our workshops, both in person and online.
I'd love for you to be a part of this flower-filled journey too.
If you'd like to join the (no-obligation) waitlist for Flourish with Flowers, then I'd love to hear from you! Just click here to register your interest and I’ll be in touch soon.