Bou­quets for Linda’s fully fra­grant flow­ers

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Karen Hunt

FRA­GRANT and old-fash­ioned is how Linda Max­field likes her flow­ers. Oth­ers seem to like them too, which has led to grow­ing de­mand for blooms from the gar­den of her his­toric Bridgetown prop­erty. Fresh and field-to-vase is her ap­proach, one which mir­rors the pad­dock-to-plate food move­ment. The old-fash­ioned favourites she grows were com­mon when she started as a florist but hot­house flow­ers now dom­i­nate, she says. “Now when you go into a florist shop, 95 per cent of the flow­ers that you are pur­chas­ing will be grown in a hot­house and a lot of those over­seas.” Her flow­ers, by con­trast, are all grown out­side. “The rea­son for that is I want to be able to con­trib­ute back to the en­vi­ron­ment and build up the soil,” she said. “If you grow flow­ers in a hot­house then they don’t con­trib­ute at all to the en­vi­ron­ment, they’re just not the same.” An aroma ther­a­pist and trained florist – her bunches and other prod­ucts are avail­able at Loft bou­tique – she be­lieves fra­grance is an im­por­tant part of the sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence of flow­ers. But bury­ing your nose in a colour­ful bou­quet from the hot­house can carry a risk, she be­lieves. “One of the prob­lems with those flow­ers is that they’re very heav­ily sprayed.” Linda will run a cou­ple of work­shops at the Fes­ti­val of Coun­try Gar­dens this year. The first dur­ing the pre­lude this week­end will be a class at the Rab­bit Hole on Satur­day. A sec­ond, en­ti­tled “Petals and Paint”, is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with her neigh­bour, artist and fel­low keen cook Di Holst, dur­ing the main fes­ti­val from Novem­ber 1-5. Art is a fea­ture of the gar­den fes­ti­val this year, with ex­hi­bi­tions to be held at Kan­dalee Farm out­side Green­bushes and at the Black Barn gallery on Ee­dle Ter­race, Bridgetown. An­other ad­di­tion to the ex­panded pro­gram is the feasts in the barn at Ford House, which has for many years hosted the an­nual spring fair in its grounds. Also new are wild­flower and bird walks with botanist and bird­watcher Erica Shed­ley and bas­ket mak­ing with Sally Stone­man, at Maranup Ford. Par­tic­i­pants in Linda’s sec­ond work­shop will use as in­spi­ra­tion blooms grown at her prop­erty Cot­more, which was 100 years old in 2014. Since she and hus­band Nick bought it a decade ago she has re­moved na­tives and in­stead planted her own old-fash­ioned coun­try gar­den. “I wanted a cot­tage gar­den, that’s my love,” she said. Ex­otics and Mediter­ranean plants now fea­ture, from roses to lilac, laven­der and other old-style sta­ples and an­nu­als use­ful in her busi­ness. An old or­chard has been re­moved, too, to make room for her pick­ing gar­den. In that are planted slow-grow­ing pe­onies, dahlias, calla lil­lies, tuberoses, lil­li­ums and ten­der an­nu­als such as stocks, del­phini­ums, snap­drag­ons, pop­pies and lark­spur. “I find peo­ple when they get my flow­ers they say, oh it re­minds me of grandma’s gar­den.” Her bunches are a re­minder of yes­ter­year and evoke many emo­tions – they’ve even moved peo­ple to tears – but mostly they just make peo­ple happy, she says. “That’s the pri­mary rea­son you give flow­ers to peo­ple – you want to put a smile on their face, you want to give them some­thing alive and joy­ful. “And I think with the hot­house flow­ers, that wasn’t hap­pen­ing any more.” Go to www.fes­ti­val­of­coun­try­gar­dens.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Pic­ture: Karen Hunt

Linda Max­field’s flower ar­rang­ing work­shops are one of the new ad­di­tions to the ex­panded Fes­ti­val of Coun­try Gar­dens, which opens this week­end.

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