I have some big news! I am skipping winter this year and heading to the land down under! As of December 5th I am travelling to Australia and New Zealand to do what I love, play with flowers!!! I cannot put into words how excited I am. This is going to be three months of adventure, creativity, and all around good times.
Melbourne is my starting point. My flight is 26 hours and with time change I lose two days. So I am sure the jetlag will be insane and the first 48 hours will mostly be sleeping. Once I am no longer a walking talking zombie the exploring will begin. Melbourne is known to be the artsy and cultural capital of Australia. Behind the established streets of the city, cafes, boutiques, and street art can be found in old laneways – originally used for ox carts in the 19th century. There is something different in each nook and cranny of the city, I can’t wait to get lost in it all. Oh! I also recently discovered coffee is a huge deal in Australia, like bigger than in Italy so the goal is to find the best cup of joe while in the city.
Then I will make my way to Tasmania Australia, which is an island just off of the south coast of Australia. I will be spending a month learning from flower farmer Lisa Kingston of Lisa Kingston Flowers, who has welcomed me into her home with open arms. She takes her beautiful blooms weekly to quite the bustling market in the capital city, where there are over 300 vendors every Saturday! On top of this she arranges beautiful wedding flowers for local brides, and provides flowers to cafes, restaurants, and hotels in the area. This experience will allow me to be fully immersed into daily life, which is quite exciting. Being included in day to day living gives you a different perspective when travelling and offers a much better idea of what the area is all about. When in Tasmania I do have to prepare myself for the weather, as I have been warned it is not uncommon to experience all 4 seasons in a single day. This could mean sunshine, rain, and hail all within the span of a few hours. Packing for that will be fun I am sure! Side note I realized I get to wear my blundstones – which are made in Tasmania – in Tasmania, which I think is cool. It’s kind of like I am bringing them back to their homeland!
Once my time here is up I will be flying to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand located in the Northern Island. I am taking about a week to relax before spending the next month with a second lovely flower farmer. Right now I have my sights set on doing some sea kayaking, climbing a mountain, and just exploring the city. This is the most populated area of New Zealand so I am sure there will be lot’s to see and do.
To get to the second farm I am taking a ferry from Wellington to Picton, which is such a funny coincidence, I am sure I will feel right at home! This ferry ride is three and a half hours and is known to behold some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the route takes you directly through the Marlborough Sounds. Once I arrive I will be spending a month with Jeanine Wardman of Verve Flowers. She is one of few farmer florists growing in New Zealand and has offered nothing but kindness in organizing this trip. This experience will be quite interesting, as I will be blessed with the opportunity to not only learn from Jeanine and the ladies employed here but also a few women that are on a similar journey as I, travelling with a flower focus! Jeanine like Lisa grows stunning flowers, and uses her blooms to arrange for weddings. She also supplies flowers to florists throughout the area, and seedlings to a local greenhouse so the people of Marlborough can see the beauty and importance of local flowers as well as the varieties that are available.
I am really excited for both of these opportunities, as each will offer something different. I can’t wait to put my hands back in the dirt and connect with a different way of life, separate from what I have always known . And obviously I am eager for the flowers! For the past few months I have been following both of these ladies on instagram and I am repeatedly blown away. The variety and quality of flowers grown by these two is breathtaking. Let me just say the ranunculus and poppies right now…WOW!
After my time spent on the farm is up I am leaving two weeks unplanned to see or do what ever I feel is right before heading home. As of right now I may take a trip to South East Asia, check out a bit more of Australia, or even stay in New Zealand. It will all depend on the people I met and how I feel about both countries.
This opportunity is insane. The two ladies that I will be spending the bulk of my trip with have been nothing but kind and accommodating. They have agreed to invite someone they know little about not only into their day-to-day lives, but also their homes and I will forever be grateful for this. Without their support, enthusiasm, and graciousness this trip would not be happening. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! I am counting down the days!
It is also important to note how inspired I am by these two and all farmer florists alike. This job can only be tackled by the most hardworking and dedicated of people. It requires not only really hard hands on work, but also creativity, and not to mention bucket loads of other skills. The amount of work all farmer florists manage to fit into a single day always suprises me.