Bringing the crops of the Liverpool Plains to the living rooms of Australia
Nestled in the heart of the Liverpool Plains, New South Wales, lies Breeza Station, a bustling hub of farm life which circulates around 11,000 acres of summer and winter crop rotations of wheat, corn, sorghum, and cotton alongside a trading heard of cattle. Breeza Station is home to multiple generations of the Pursehouse family starting with Andrew and Cindy, to sons James and Hugh and daughter Anna, alongside their partners Julia, Maddy and Jack, to their grandchildren, Archie (4), Primrose (2) and Fletcher (1).
Though this story is situated on Breeza Station, we look to one member of the Pursehouse family who has found a way to marry her love of floristry to her life on the farm and her commitments to family and farm life. In 2018 Julia Pursehouse, sat alongside her then baby boy, Archie, was dabbling in the sale of succulents and working in a local florist to satisfy her need for creativity and to feed her love of plants. It was whilst working at that florist in nearby Tamworth and looking at the creative trends coming out of florists and interior designers in Sydney, that Julia noticed the growing demand for dried flowers and particularly cotton and wheat. She had plenty of this, and sorghum, at her fingertips, in the paddocks just beyond her home. So, with Archie in tow, Julia set about her own harvest for distribution throughout local florists and beyond.
Soon, a fully-fledged business had taken form. But what to call this growing business of hers? It was as she was sat on the veranda one afternoon, putting together her bunches of cotton, wheat, and sorghum that Julia looked up to see her husband James working hard in the paddock and she thought to herself, well that’s the farmer over there and I’m the florist so how about the Farmers Florist?
Before long, Julia had a thriving business on her hands, servicing the Liverpool Plains and surrounds with her bunches, heroing the crops grown at Breeza Station. Then along came baby number two, Fletcher, and Julia found her hands full with two boisterous boys to occupy at home. Both the business and the family grew together, and Julia found a way to balance motherhood with her small business and farm life, retaining a sense of herself through her work with the Farmers Florist. This was so important to Julia as many working mums will recognise the importance nurturing the part of yourself which separates yourself from your mum-self. For Julia that part of herself was her flowers and her garden and her small business gave her a sense of accomplishment each day.
Today, the Farmers Florist is part of a Liverpool Plains business group called The Plains. This is a group of small businesses located across the Liverpool Plains who come together in workshops and seminars to support one and other in business growth and development whilst also working to build on the agritourism potential of the district. Julia has been able to harness the power of Instagram to fuel her business growth. From an early stage she recognised the importance of visibility on social media as integral to the growth of her small business and for her, Instagram fit the bill. It had the ability to reach out to potential customers who may come to her directly or through the florists she sells to, and it gave her the platform to highlight the origin of the dried crops which find their way to customer’s homes.
More recently, Julia opened her home and the nearby woolshed to her first ever workshop. Attendees donned their gumboots and headed into the paddock to pick their own cotton bunches and get a crash course in cotton picker functionality from Farmer James, before heading back to the woolshed to learn how best to preserve and maintain a cotton plant in their home and how to arrange and display the bunches of cotton and other crops sourced from the paddock.
As we look at what the reminder of 2022 might bring for the Farmers Florist, we only see growth. Growth in the business and in the number of stockists taking on bunches of cotton, wheat and sorghum from Breeza Station. Growth in her two boys and her family and growth in the paddock and beyond.
You can follow Julia and her journey with the Farmers Florist on Instagram @the_farmers_florist