Alpine Blooms farm has always been a dream of mine. Ever since I moved to New Zealand and studied Horticulture I somehow knew I would always end up with my own flower paradise.
Four years ago I worked on a cherry orchard in Cromwell while doing my internship for Bachelor of Agricommerce, and I fell in love with the Central Otago region. I knew then that I must come back, live and grow here. At that stage I was thinking I would be growing stone fruit just like everyone else in the area, but as the time passed and I got a job with a cut flower grower in Auckland, I slowly realized that there was nothing more beautiful and pleasurable than holding an armload of flowers every morning. It was even more exciting knowing that these flowers would end up all over New Zealand, making people happy and cheering them on during their day. I fell in love with flowers all over again. I did not want to leave the job every day and I was rushing to go back every morning. It was such a treat.
During my time with the grower I learned a lot about huge scale production of flowers: how to care for and grow them, as well as how to arrange them in simple bouquets (that was our downtime activity with the left over flowers). My house was never empty of flowers and my friends started calling me the Flower girl as I was always showing up with a bunch in my hands.
During that year my brother got married in Russia and he inquired my skills to do all his arrangements including the bridal bouquet. For months I was sending photos of roses to his future wife, trying to figure out what she wanted and liked, and when time came I could not do any of that! as I had only four hours to pick flowers, design a bouquet and deliver it to the lucky bride. The local florist had only one type of pink rose and purple lisianthus and that just had to do! That was one of the more stressful days of my life but I enjoyed it and it was so satisfying seeing a general excitement on her face and my flowers in every photo; she was so proud of them. Next day the table arrangements had to be done and general table decoration and that is where the cottage garden colors entered my life. My grandparents garden was the venue and I had a free helping to whatever I wanted. Life was good!
So I came back to New Zealand after a well-organised wedding and thought to myself, “I can totally do this flower thing!” But I had a full time job and I lived in Auckland where land was something that you don’t even think about. I still loved every minute of my job and of what I was doing and I was learning a lot. But the offer came to move to the South Island with a potential promise of a Queenstown job in the future. I could not resist coming that one step closer to my Central Otago dream. I took the job in Christchurch (which was also in the Horticulture field) and through those years I learned to manage time and people as well as dealing with customers and working long hours. Once again I loved my job and challenges it had with it, but I was driving to Central Otago every other weekend and basically living two lives. I did love being surrounded by mountains and beautiful lakes.
After two years in Christchurch I got to transfer with my job to Wanaka! I finally got here! I could not be more excited or happy about living (in my opinion) in the most beautiful place in the world. And now I could try and get into flower growing if I wanted to. Unfortunately the full time job took a lot of hours and even more nerves. A first year of the contract is always the hardest, so autumn and winter passed with no mention of my flower farm.
Then one day I was talking to my partner about this dream and how this might one day come to life when I am less busy and have less excuses to procrastinate from my dream, and he smiled and he seemed like he just listened to it but had no real opinion of it. Then a couple of weeks passed and the most extraordinary phrase came out from his mouth: “So I spoke to my dad about your flowers and you can have a piece of land on the farm to start it up.” He said it so calmly and in such an ordinary fashion that I was speechless at how cool he was about it. I mean in my head this was a miracle! Here I was living in a beautiful place with great partner and a job, what else can I possibly want! I was so excited I think I could not stop smiling for days.
I rushed out to the plot at the first opportunity I had and started to make preparations! My head was full of ideas and what needed to be done, and how I am going to do it and what will grow there. I entered into another online course and started to learn like crazy about flower growing and small farm scale and so on. My head quickly filled up with flowers and not much more. In the next few month I worked on the plot getting rid of all the weeds and turning soil over and putting up a fence to protect my crop from good old rabbits. My partner always there to help and support me. I am truly grateful to him and his family for giving me this opportunity and support, and I really hope they like flowers!
Now we are almost at the end of summer and the plot is almost ready to go. Irrigation will be installed soon and a small glasshouse for all the little baby plants. Our house is full of bulbs and seed packets as well as seed trays and other bits and pieces so we are almost ready to bring beautiful fresh flowers to Central Otago area. I am so blessed to live where I live and I am so grateful to everyone who has helped and still helping me on this adventure. I have the most amazing friends and family that will be treasured for life. So Central Otago! Look out some gorgeous flowers coming your way from late winter this year. I can’t wait to share all the beauty with you all and give people that little piece of me and my love.