Natalie Harris wants to bring heirloom flowers back to the table.
The onetime North Burnett admin officer is now an organic flower farmer at Mount Lawless, near Gayndah, Queensland.
And she is blooming in her role growing imported seedlings from as far as the United States and the United Kingdom. She also offers traditional flowers not regularly seen in florists.
Ms Harris and her husband purchased an eight-acre former orchard in June of 2012 with plans to build a house.
Wanting to have a garden bed ready for the impending structure, Ms Harris began planting perennial plants. But when their house plans were delayed she sought interest from locals wanting to buy her blooms, and business and the flower patch took off.
“I did a lot of research,” Ms Harris said.
“I read cut flower books to sort of see what were the easier growing flowers, old fashion heirloom blooms with scent and flowers that florists don’t usually get because they don’t travel well.”
Her motivation for growing organically was due to large chemical use in the flower industry.
Just like food, flowers come into your home and Ms Harris said it was just as important for people to understand the chemicals that go into growing flowers.
Guineafowls graze around the farm to limit insects while newspaper and sugar cane is used as a form of mulch.
“There are not too many other people in Queensland that have got organic flowers and if you do a little bit of research basically the flowers that are imported, especially roses, are dipped in round up right up to the blooms obviously to keep pest and disease out of the country,” she said.
“Before you take a scent test, most of your flowers won’t have any, so I am trying to fill this spot, too.
“I am going into edible flowers as it’s quite trendy at the moment but the consumers need to make sure they are eating organic petals, which is another reason for being organic.”
Ms Harris took on more of a business focus with her flowers towards the end of 2016 and now uses social media to sell them, servicing areas including Gayndah, Mundubbera, Eidsvold, Monto, Kilkivan and Gympie.
Her ultimate goal is to hold workshops and offer customers cheaper flower options by picking and filling buckets or vases themselves, particularly for weddings.
It was through the encouragement of her grandmother and daughter that Ms Harris finally decided to follow her love for flowers, initially fearing her English ability wouldn’t allow her to study and pronounce the long names in horticulture.
“I would like to bring flowers back to the tables, back to weddings and events,” she said.
“I think if someone doesn’t start doing it we are going to lose it.
“My grandma always had flowers on the table. If you had visitors coming over she would say, quick go get a couple of flowers and put them in a vase.
“I really want people to have flowers back in their houses and back in their life, even if it is at your office desk.”
In warmer months the flower farm features:
Amaranth, Asters, Basil foliage, Celosia’s, Cosmos, Craspedia, Dusty miller, Gomphrena, Pincushion flowers, white and yellow dill, scented geraniums, strawflowers, sunflowers, chocolate lace flowers, green mist ammi, nasturtium vines, honeywort, vines of honeysuckles, gladiolus, yarrow, more than13 colours of giant Zinnias, oklahomas, and lilliput zinnias.
In the cooler months you will find:
Larkspurs, Queen Anne’s lace, Iceland poppies, ranunculus, columbines, sweet williams, delphiniums, Bells of Ireland, phlox, spray carnations, didiscus (lace flower), nigella’s, statice, stock, snapdragons and sweet peas
The Mt Lawless Organic Flower Farm will be open for a farm tour during the local Heartland Festival.