Meet Elizabeth Back, Flower grower
Elizabeth Back runs Wild Aesthetic Flowers.
Robin Powell Robin Powell interviews Elizabeth here and gets to know what's growing in her garden
Meet Elizabeth Back, flower grower. Photo - Robin Powell
Have you always had a love of flowers?
Yes, even as a very little kid living in Wilcannia, according to my mum. And I was a frustrated gardener when I was living in units. Then in 2008 I realised that everything I bought had flowers on it - bags, cushions, tops, and I thought I really had to get serious about flowers and about my urge to express myself creatively.
So what did you do?
I did a Cert III in floristry at Pearsons part-time while I kept working as an occupational therapist. I loved it. I never had faith in my creative ability until I started working with flowers. Next I did a permaculture design course and got sidetracked into edibles for a bit, then in 2015 I thought, it’s time. What I want to do is grow flowers. My husband wanted a business plan but I had no idea what I was going to do, except that I was following what I had to do. I felt like the refrain in my head was ‘build it and they will come’.
'Build it and they will come’ is Elizabeth's philosophy.
So what have you built?
I don't grow enough flowers to be commercially viable as a wholesaler, but I do have an online shop where people can order bouquets or arrangements, and I also host workshops.
What happens at the workshops?
There are a few different events. I really enjoy hosting mothers and daughters, just two people, who have the garden to themselves, they pick what they like, get a few tips, and make a bouquet or an arrangement. They are in the garden looking for beauty, appreciating beauty and are totally in the moment. It’s like mindful meditation. And then they create this thing of beauty - I haven't seen an ugly creation yet, it’s a no-fail creative activity! I love seeing this really joyful process happen.
Bulbs will feature heavily in Elizabeth's spring garden.
What do you have growing in spring?
There are 22 varieties of sweet peas, bearded iris, roses, larkspur, bulbs, cornflower, and apple, peach and crabapple blossom, as well as raspberry and thornless blackberry which is wonderful in an arrangement and lots of other things.
Of the flowers you grow, which one offers the most impact for the least effort?
It has to be the zinnias. They are so easy to grow, and are cut-and-come-again, so the more you pick the more they grow. You can get such beautiful varieties now; they are magnificent.
Elizabeth Back runs Wild Aesthetic Flowers. Check the website for details of upcoming workshops. www.wildaestheticflowers.com