Desktop: Sophie Kurylowicz, Little Triffids Flowers

08 March 2016

My dear friend Sophie has an ever-expanding flower farm in her Wagga Wagga backyard, and I really miss catching up with her and seeing what's in bloom. A few years ago she started Little Triffids Flowers, where much of what she arranges and sells is grown at home. Sophie's gone from doing the odd wedding for (lucky) friends to delivering seasonal flower subscriptions multiple times a week. Here's what she gets up to in a typical week.

How did Little Triffids Flowers get started?

I've always been a flower addict and when we moved to our own home in the country with a big, blank backyard I was so excited to plan it out with my husband Tim. Growing our own veggies was priority number one, and having enough flowers to bring into the house whenever I wanted was priority number two.

Around the same time I got hooked on the blogs of some people in America who were foundational in the micro-flower farm movement, which is all about growing flowers for your local area, organically and seasonally. I had some awesome opportunities to do a few friends' weddings and I thought I should give what I was doing a name... after much agonising (!) Little Triffids Flowers was born.

What's growing in the garden right now?

Lots and lots of things are growing but flowering right now are zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, amaranth, echinacea, dahlias, roses, celosia, cosmos, shasta daisies, scabiosa and sedum. I use lots of herbs and foliage, and basil, tomato, grasses and raspberry are the best at the moment. Chrysanthemums are not too far away...

Last year seemed huge for you - you had a baby and Little Triffids started popping up everywhere from installations in shop windows to big outdoor events. What were some of the highlights of your first year in business, and some of the learning curves too?

It was quite a big year! The installation at Fusion festival was definitely a highlight - it was one of those things that I pictured really clearly in my head and just  knew that I could do because it was utilising my background in theatre, which I'm much more confident in! I know how to carry heavy things up tall ladders and attach stuff to truss no worries! 

Also finishing up my Spring subscriptions was a huge relief! I got through every week without having to cancel any bouquets and I could see that they improved over time and I got quicker at making them too. Oh and one more highlight - my first ever dahlia bloomed on Christmas Day - I may have teared up a little.

Every week is a learning curve in the garden. There are so many times where I rush and cut corners or neglect something and then it comes back to bite me in the ass! The list of jobs in a garden is never ending and so many things I just chalk up and have to say - next year, I'll try again. I feel like such a novice when it comes to business. I have severely undercharged for my time on several occasions now but hopefully I keep getting better at asking for what I'm worth!

What's a typical week for Little Triffids like? 

It's a little haphazard but my subscriptions are the consistent thing - that and the watering! Subscription days are Mondays and Fridays (conveniently my days off from my day job). On those days I get up super early and pick the flowers and foliage I need for the day. I make sure I give everything an extra big drink the night before so they are their best for picking. 

Tim does the bulk of the baby care until he has to go to work and then when Eddie goes for his nap at about 9.30am, I get cracking making the day's bouquets. Each bouquet is different and I think about who it is for as aI construct it. Some of the subscribers like brighter colours, some pastels. Some people I do more unusual arrangements for. 

Fingers crossed I get them done before Eddie wakes up - it doesn't always happen! Eddie has morning tea while I try and grab some snaps of the flowers and then we hit the road together. I travel with them in jars of water so I have a huge amount of flowers on the passenger seat in a big box - plus any excess flowers in a bucket to sell wholesale to a florist in town. 

I get one-off bouquet orders a few times a week and I try and squeeze them in if I have enough notice. Now I'm back at work it's not quite so easy! After the baby's gone to bed I'm blogging, writing quotes, buying seeds and plants. Oh and all my remaining spare time is in the garden!

Can you give me a peek of where you work? I hear the laundry has been done up, and I'd love to see your vase collection.

Up until a few weeks ago I was doing the arranging in the kitchen and it made the biggest mess! Our laundry was this mishmash of furniture and we just got this amazing stainless steel bench as well as shelves put in. I have space for the flower buckets, floristry gear, a really deep (and wipeable!!) surface to work on and my vase shelf - which is already full to overflowing to my husband’s horror! 

What do think flowers bring to our everyday lives, whether you're sent a bouquet as a gift (still so romantic) or buying them for yourself to have at home?

There's something about the full life cycle you see in a short time frame with a flower. A small inconsequential bud opens and blooms into the most incredibly beautiful and complex thing and then it dies and often even then it is still gorgeous. 

Anecdotally, Eddie and I went overseas for a few weeks and had to leave poor Tim at home. It was so strange coming home because I walked in the house and it was freshly cleaned and neat and tidy but something seemed missing. And then it struck me a few hours later. There were no flowers anywhere! Tim had purposefully left them for me to do which was super sweet. 

Thank you Sophie! You can find Little Triffids Flowers here, and on Instagram and Facebook too

P.S Sophie did the flowers for my wedding a few years ago and included cuttings from her garden, and her mum's garden too. It brought me extra luck on the day :)

Photos by Sophie Kurylowicz.

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