Takes my breath away, every day

“Having my breath taken away by a single bloom”. This is just one of the things that drives Sophie, flower farmer at Little Triffids Flowers in North Wagga Wagga, NSW Riverina
If you’re curious about growing flowers or you’re already a grower, this series of farmer profiles should give a great insight into life as a flower farmer.
First up is Sophie and Bethany from Little Triffids Flowers, North Wagga Wagga, NSW Riverina
This growing business, pardon the pun, is both flower farming and floristry. The girls wholesale to florists, or supply their own floristry and workshop business.
The farming is Sophie’s domain, the business admin work mostly Bethany and the girls share the floristry component.
It was a pretty natural progression for Sophie that gardening soon turned into a business.

“I’ve been growing flowers and veggies since I was a child  – but for the business it perhaps all started with a bumper bag of mixed bulbs from diggers club – anemones & ranunculus.”

What do you grow? 
Very small quantities of a lot of flowers. In Spring it’s anemones, ranunculus, larkspur, foxgloves, sweetpeas, unusual tulips, unusual roses and lots of other smaller flowers like nigella, cornflower and cerinth.
Going into Summer and Autumn it’s all about the dahlias, zinnias, amaranth, cosmos, celosia and anything else that can withstand our hot dry climate.
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Image: James Farley
 
What’s involved in cultivating?
I direct sow a lot of seed as a lot of what we grow germinates well this way and it saves me a heap of time with double handling. Otherwise I sow in mini greenhouse seed trays and move them around catching the sun or hiding them from the sun depending on the season!
I usually only need one or two seed trays per variety as we grow such small numbers. With the exception of dahlias which we will have around 200 plants of this year. I divide all the tubers in late winter ready to be planted 1st October when the frosts have finished.
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Image: James Farley
When are you in full bloom?
November and April are the best months.
 
Do you sell to the industry or public?
I sell wholesale to a couple of very select florists and to the public via locally owned produce stores and social media.
LittleTriffids is also a florist in its own right so our best blooms go to our brides, corporate clients and subscribers.
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Image: James Farley
Challenges of growing?
Cockatoos. Hard frosts. 40 degree days for days on end. Thrips. Very strong Easterly winds. No rain. Sometimes many of these at once.
What’s your growing strategy/philosophy?
I just try to improve each year on the last.  Flower Farming is a never ending learning exercise.
Why do you grow flowers?
After being so unsure of what my ‘thing’ was for many years …. I found my ‘thing’.
What do you love about it?
Being outside. Watching change happen very slowly. Problem solving. Having my breath taken away by a single bloom (happens every day!). Being so in tune with the seasons.
 
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Image: James Farley
What do you find challenging about life as a flower farmer?
I find the phrase “playing with flowers” a little grating. It detracts from the sheer amount of grunt, dirt, manure, fencing and hard headed persistance that goes into creating those pretty blooms to “play with”.
Also. The damn bloody freakin cockatoos.
 
Do you have a favourite Floral designer? 
Dr Cooper, Saipua,  Tulipina, Trille Floral, Wild at heart – I could go on and on!
Fine Little Triffids here:
Insta: @littletriffidsflowers
All Photos by James Farley

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