Spud farm blooms into heritage roses

Heritage roses are growing alongside potatoes, cattle and canola at Dean


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COLOUR: Kristy Tippett with a fresh bunch of fragrant heritage rose blooms in her sorting shed at Soho Rose Farm. The 8000 roses are grown outdoors in Dean's volcanic soils rather than in a glasshouse. Photo by Adam Trafford.

COLOUR: Kristy Tippett with a fresh bunch of fragrant heritage rose blooms in her sorting shed at Soho Rose Farm. The 8000 roses are grown outdoors in Dean's volcanic soils rather than in a glasshouse. Photo by Adam Trafford.

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A fifth generation family potato, cropping and cattle farm has successfully transplanted 8000 heritage roses to supply Melbourne's floristry market.

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A fifth generation family potato, cropping and cattle farm has blossomed into an abundance of garden roses.

Thousands of fragrant David Austin and Hybrid Tea roses grow in the rich volcanic soil before they are hand picked and cut for market.

Kristy Tippett, owner of Soho Rose Farm, took possession of the roses last year.

A florist of 10 years, Ms Tippett had always wanted to grow something herself and the perfect opportunity arose when a Drysdale farm she sourced flowers from was sold.

"All of the roses were going to be bulldozed," Ms Tippett said.

"It would have been a real loss to the floristry industry."

She and her husband Brock transferred every rose bush - all 8000 - from Drysdale to Dean.

"It was a pretty massive move," Ms Tippett said.

"It was amazing and has worked out so well.

"The move went really well, the plants have done incredibly.

"We've done nothing to them really and they have thrived."

The roses are unique heritage varieties of garden roses with an invigorating fragrance.

They grow more slowly in the paddock than in a glasshouse and require more maintenance due to the increased susceptibility to weather.

Garden varieties and hothouse roses differ in size and often have different stems.

Some hothouse roses have a fragrance, while others do not.

"Because I'm a florist as well and have dealt with a lot of brides I know that when they pick their bridal bouquet they want it to smell really beautiful," Ms Tippett said.

Growing and tending the rose bushes, rather than simply arranging the blooms, has been a learning experience.

"It's been good for me to do something else other than potatoes," she laughed.

Ms Tippett is attending a rose masterclass at Grace Rose Farm - which grows fragrant, antique and organic roses - in Santa Ynez, California, this week.

"I really want to go to America because they do exactly what we do here - some of the same variety and some a little bit different - but they do it on a much bigger scale than what I do, and organically," she said.

The US farm Ms Tippett will visit is almost four times larger than her own, processing about 30,000 stems each week in the 2018 season.

Ms Tippett hopes to learn how to grow and fertilise organically, as well as how to organically manage pests and diseases.

"So for me, going to America is really invaluable to see that side of how they maintain as many plants as what they have organically."

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