Micro flower farm proves a blooming success

Pioneer micro flower farmer Sophie Kurylowicz will demonstrate the latest trends in floral bouquets in the Farm Gate Market pavilion.

Visitors to the Farm Gate Produce pavilion will learn how to make a beautiful floral bouquet from micro flower farmer Sophie Kurylowicz.

To be held on Wednesday, September 18, the hour long demonstrations will cover picking and caring for your own flowers, making a gift bouquet or posy, and wrapping and presentation.

Sophie operates Little Triffids Flowers at Wagga, with business partner Bethany Saab, and runs seasonal floral workshops on a micro flower farm.

Participants come away with armloads of blooms, locally made ceramic vessels, flower snips, an apron and the skills to create floral arrangements at home.

Little Triffids specialise in bespoke floral arrangements using seasonal blooms from the Wagga farm.

Hundreds of varieties of blooms are cultivated each year on Sophie’s quarter acre block at North Wagga.

The flowers are field grown and seasonal, meaning they have a natural garden aesthetic and are as fresh as can be.

“With the Riverina’s four distinct seasons, we can grow a huge variety of stunning flowers,’’ Bethany said.

“We love ranunculus, dahlias, chocolate cosmos, aquilegia, poppy and lupin.’’

In charge of the flower farm, Sophie’s obsession with flowers began in her grandmother’s English garden and continued through a career in theatre production.

She relocated from Sydney to Wagga in 2011 and purchased a turn-of-the-century weatherboard cottage in North Wagga.

In March 2012, over a metre of flood water swept through the house and garden, forcing Sophie and her family to find temporary accommodation for 10 months.

“While we couldn’t work on the inside of the house we switched to planning the back yard, putting in a vegetable and herb patch,” she said.

“We broke the garden into rooms, planted a tree corridor through the middle and planted around the existing old sheds and trees.

“The flood brought a lot of silt through so the soil is fantastic.”

Sophie planted a big bag of bulbs and began using the blooms as gifts for friends.

“I was reading a lot of blogs on micro flower farming and farmer florists,” she said.

Bethany, who had an interest in floristry, and Sophie came to the conclusion in 2016 they would like to start a joint business venture, naming it Little Triffids Flowers and specialising in seasonal flower deliveries.

“Our point of difference is it is home grown flowers and ones you cannot buy from the flower markets,” Sophie said.

“As they are home grown, the flowers have a natural shape to them and can be more delicate.

“We started wholesaling to a few florists in town and expanded into wedding floristry and running workshops.

“We have done three year’s worth of workshops in the spring and autumn – they include a tour of the flower farm, making hand held and vase arrangements, design principles and caring for cut flowers.”

Sophie said the summer heatwave took a toll on the garden and involved small, frequent waterings.

“Micro flower farming is different from gardening as soon as a plant is past its productive prime, it is out, so it is a fast turnover,” she said.

A pioneer of the farm florist movement in Australia, Sophie helped initiate a social media group for Australian micro flower farmers.

“It is a producer network aimed at sharing tips and advice, sourcing materials and marketing,” she said.

“I specialise in what grows well in our temperate climate such as zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias, Dutch and bearded iris, daffodils, carnations, canna lily, yarrow, sea holly, veronica, sedum allium, heritage chrysanthemums, ranunculus, anemone, lupin, red hot pokers, snapdragons, sweet peas, cornflower, freesias, larkspur, stock, smoke bush, amaranth, lavender, grasses and succulents.

“We are producing 600 stems a week in the peak growing season of four to five months of the year.”

Sophie said trends favoured dusky, terracotta or coffee coloured flowers such as Julia and Soul Sister roses and cafe au lait dahlias.

“When making an arrangement, think about showstopper flowers with different shape and form, followed by filler flowers to add texture and movement,” she said.

“Add foliage that is not just in the background but provides colour and texture in its own right.’’