Inside Out (Australia)

Business blooms for a sustainabl­e flower farm

Jonima Flowers in the NSW Southern Highlands is an enthusiast­ic bunch of family members seasonally planting more sustainabl­e blooms

- WORDS LAURA BARRY PHOTOGRAPH­Y ABBIE MELLE

Living on a flower farm in the idyllic highlands of NSW sounds like a springtime dream come true, but for the Padovano family it’s just another day on the job. After moving to Yanderra in 2006, Ingrid, a florist, and her husband John, a third-generation flower farmer, founded Jonima Flowers, a sustainabl­e and seasonal flower farm that sells more than 100 types of flowers and foliage at markets and online. “John is the grower and salesperso­n, I’m the florist, and together we coordinate what we plant and grow on the farm,” says Ingrid. “Our four children play a big part in the farm, and sell the flowers at markets.”

Nicola, 17, Marco, 16, Luca, 13, and Daniella, 11, all have roles in the business, from managerial duties to getting in on the farming action. “We value each other’s skill sets and let each child take on jobs they’re interested in,” says Ingrid. “Doing this allows them to grow and explore what they like to do, as well as open their world to nature and people, and teach them about how the decisions they make impact the world around them.”

For the Padovano family, sustainabl­e flower farming is about planting with the seasons and implementi­ng sustainabl­e environmen­tal practices that work with the land they live on. “It’s important to us to take care of the land for future generation­s, and to hopefully leave behind a positive footprint,” says Ingrid. “Being sustainabl­e allows the farm to provide us with beautiful flowers that have less need for pesticides and chemicals. This leads to an improvemen­t of soil health, which in turn leads to healthy plants and flowers that are strong enough to naturally fight pests and diseases that might develop. Bees play an important role in what we do, and we make conscious decisions about what we use on our flowers so as not to affect the bees. We have plenty of them on our farm!”

Besides the obvious environmen­tal benefits of seasonal flower farming, Ingrid explains that buying local flowers that have been grown seasonally not only supports local business, but guarantees the customer a high-quality product. “The most obvious benefit is that the consumer gets the freshest flowers. This translates to a longer vase life and – similar to food – the consumer gets the best characters of a particular region.”

Unfortunat­ely, identifyin­g which flowers have been grown locally or imported can be a hard task for the average flower

enthusiast, but Ingrid says the most obvious difference to look for is the intensity of the colour in the flowers, and advises people to be aware of which flowers are in season. For example, buy sweet peas in spring and not summer, and buy hydrangeas in summer, not winter. If you’re not sure, ask your florist or flower supplier where the blooms have come from. “When picking flowers for your home, the best time is in the morning when the blooms are fully hydrated. Make sure there’s colour in the flower and that it looks as though it’s just about fully open,” says Ingrid. “What we would like to see more of in the flower industry is the labelling of local products so they can be identified by consumers. That way, shoppers can make informed choices about what they’re actually buying.”

While having the entire family working together is bliss, Ingrid says the hardest part of the job is finding a work/life balance and defining work and family zones, but by striking a good mix they know the farm will reward them. “We’re always growing and evolving as a business. As a flower farm, our aim for the future is to be viable and open to new concepts and innovation­s that will help improve how we farm and look after the land we’re on – and to be able to showcase the best of local flowers.”

Find more details for Jonima Flowers at jonimaflow­ers.com

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 ??  ?? FAMILY FARM (clockwise from opposite) Ingrid picks the freshest flowers to sell at market. Ingrid, Daniella and Marco carry foliage and flowers to the truck. The Padovano family in front of an impressive floral installati­on at their farm in the NSW Southern Highlands. Marco, Daniella, Luca and Nicola take a closer look at what’s happening in the greenhouse. Nicola creates beautiful bouquets for the online store and markets. Yellow gerberas ready to pick.
FAMILY FARM (clockwise from opposite) Ingrid picks the freshest flowers to sell at market. Ingrid, Daniella and Marco carry foliage and flowers to the truck. The Padovano family in front of an impressive floral installati­on at their farm in the NSW Southern Highlands. Marco, Daniella, Luca and Nicola take a closer look at what’s happening in the greenhouse. Nicola creates beautiful bouquets for the online store and markets. Yellow gerberas ready to pick.

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