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HANNAH-LEA ROBERTSON : FLOWER FARMER

HANNAH-LEA ROBERTSON : FLOWER FARMER

 Our love for beautiful blooms is endless and bountiful here at Chasing Unicorns and a magnificent bunch of flowers can always be found close at hand wherever you find Sarah on any given day. Flowers to us are natures version of dreamy, endlessly romantic fashion! Sarah loves nothing more than using flowers in her styling to evoke those ever so pretty, nostalgic vibes that are synonymous with Chasing Unicorns. 
Sarah is fortunate enough to call the incredible Hannah-Lea Robertson of “OUR LITTLE FLOWER FARM” a friend and it is her phenomenal florals that star centre stage in most of our shoots! Hannahs passion for sustainable flower farming practices are truly inspiring and the end results speak not only of magnificent beauty but of a happy and healthy earth which is a goal that we hold near and dear to our hearts also! Recently we caught up with this extraordinary Mumma, farmer and floral purveyor for a chat about things that bloom, from flowers through to her exciting new business venture and so much more. xxx

 

TELL US A LITTLE OF WHAT YOUR DAY LOOKS LIKE?

My day is various kinds of chaos... I’m an avid weather watcher so I usually know what the day will be doing temperature-wise, an important factor for daily farm prep. I get the three older kids on the bus to school, get an early flower pick in, check out what’s happening in the field, say good morning to various animals, throw on a load of washing, and head up to Newrybar to our little store via preschool drop off for the little two. I then do all of that again, but in reverse, before bedtime.

OWNING A FLOWER FARM SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM, IS THIS AN ILLUSION? TELL US ABOUT THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE SURPRISING?

Growing flowers on a small scale doesn’t have a downside for me. We manage our farm using organic growing methods and grow to meet our market of wedding florists, DIY brides, designers and now also the general public via our retail store. We have found a wonderful supportive growing network in the northern rivers and sharing farming information with them is fantastic.

HOW DID THE LITTLE FLOWER FARM COME ABOUT? HOW DID YOU BECOME A FLOWER FARMER?

We have always been a pretty nomadic family, staying in one spot hasn’t ever been easy for me.. about five years ago after a couple of years of study living in Lismore, we decided to move back to our 130-year-old farmhouse on the river at Coraki to see how we liked it. I knew I needed a creative outlet, my gran had recently died and I always think it was her flower love that pushed me in this direction. Every year we have added more beds and formalised things to make growing and harvesting easier. Jesha is a landscape gardener so he managed to help me standardise our beds. We have no desire to grow ALL the flowers and love collaborating with other farms to create abundance for our region.

AT CHASING UNICORNS WE STRIVE TO PRODUCE FOREVER BEAUTY VIA OUR KEEPSAKE DESIGNS...FLOWERS HAVE SUCH AN IMPERMANENT, FLEETING BEAUTY... IS THERE ONE FAVOURITE FLOWER YOU WISH WOULD BLOOM AND LAST FOREVER?

The impermanence of flowers is one of the things I love about them, nothing lasts forever and flowers remind me of that every day. From a tiny seed to a thriving plant, a breathtaking bloom, seed-producing pods and back to compost in months... change is the only constant. 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS TO GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FLOWERS?
  • A healthy plant will produce healthy flowers. We always grow varieties in their optimal season.
  • Harvest flowers at the right maturity, which differs for all varieties.
  • Snip stems on diagonals to help with water uptake and get them into water.
  • Remove all lower foliage in the stems.
  • Condition the flowers well, we do this naturally.
  • Always maintain clean water in a clean vessel.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight and in a cool part of the house... 

    YOUR NEW SPACE IN NEWRYBAR IS FLORAL HEAVEN...WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO TAKE THIS HUGE STEP?

    We lost our beautiful 22-year-old son Khaya in November last year... we got home from Melbourne after celebrating his life and we had a field of flowers to pick... I wasn’t sure if I could, but I found that when I was out there it felt like a moving meditation. Several months later and the offer of pitching for the space at Newrybar Merchants came up. In my grief, I have lost a lot of fear and I just thought I’d see what came from it. We only sell locally grown flowers and foliage, we have a Friday market day where blooms are bought in fresh directly from many local flower farms... I get to give a little bit back to my gorgeous supportive farming community that has nurtured us through a life-changing time and support our planet at the same time... it feels good!

    CHASING UNICORNS DESIGNS ARE INSPIRED BY THE VINTAGE OF DECADES PAST. WHAT INSPIRES YOU WHEN YOU ARE PLANTING AND SELECTING YOUR FLOWER CROPS?  

    My first area of study was clothing production and manufacture and then I went on to study textile design at RMIT... I love texture and colour, vintage fabrics, handwork from across cultures. With six babies studio time has always been a struggle and ultimately a creative frustration built in me. Growing flowers nourishes my creative passions and the kids can be around joining in. I choose varieties of flowers based on shape and colour and the memories that they trigger for me... I love ethereal, whimsical flowers the most but they all get a look in... I could never just farm one variety!

     



    Sizing Guide

    XS = AU 6 / US 2
    S = AU 8 / US 4
    M  = AU 10 / US 6
    L = AU 12 / US 8
    All our styles vary in fit, so some styles may have more flexibility in their sizing (i.e. Caftans which can size up and draw in at the waist). For specific measurements, please contact us here and we will do our best to get back to you asap.
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