When you buy a rose farm, you would think a certain finesse to lovingly tend to the flowers would be instinctive.
For Denise Duffield-Thomas and her young family, it was the start of a learning curve.
Denise had never thought about buying a country property before, but, when the renowned Lorn Rose Farm was listed on the market, she wanted in.
“I started reading Country Style Magazine and I just fell in love with these country cottages, so I put an alert on my phone for country cottages just to look and then I saw this place came up,” she told Newcastle Weekly.
“I’d just had my third baby and thought: ‘No I’m not going to look at it,’ and it came up again a few months later, so I came out to look and just fell in love.”
The cottage, barn and rose farm has a long history, stemming back to the early 1900s, resulting in it forming a special place in the hearts of locals.
For the Duffield-Thomas family, the roses were purely a bonus to their purchase of the property on Glenarvon Road.
“My husband had to go on a bit of a crash course on how to prune roses and contacted the NSW Rose Society to help because he had literally never cut a rose before,” Denise said.
“We did a Valentine’s Day store which was really fun, staying up until like 2am cutting roses and watching YouTube videos on how to strip thorns from roses.”
Denise admits now there’s a sense of duty to uphold the farm’s legacy.
“I think every single week we find someone who says: ‘Oh, I wanted to buy the farm,’ or ‘My dad had flowers from the rose farm at his wedding,’ or people come in for their anniversary flowers,” she said.
“That’s why we want to build up the rose part of the business again, because there does seem to be so many beautiful memories of the farm and we really want to honour that and give people the opportunity to come and buy the flowers from us.
“It feels like a big responsibility in that way because it has a lot of attachment to people in the area, so we knew we had to create opportunities for that.”
While roses are the main attraction, a vegetable garden has been established on the property by local duo The Good Growers, while the Humble Hive Collection has jumped on board to produce honey on the land.
The intention – to have a farm gate store where you can buy flowers, honey and produce.
The cottage itself is a world away from farm life – its sweet pink interior sprinkled with floral furniture and dried arrangements hanging from the ceiling in the most beautiful and artistic manner.
It’s already wowing international visitors, who have attended the farm for business retreats.
“I have had a mini conference here, bringing women in from all around the world, America, the Netherlands, New Zealand, to dream about businesses and come up with creative ideas,” Denise said.
And there’s one floral attribute you really can’t miss – a huge mural of a chevvy overflowing with roses, dedicated to the farm by Amanda O’Bryan, from Creative Queen Bees.
“We were inspired by other places you go that have a landmark mural, and so we wanted to have something where people immediately think of the rose farm,” Denise said.
“You will be able to see it from the road, it will be the first thing you see, so my intention is it will be something you can come and get your photo in front of.”
It’s also hoped to be a drawcard for events, which Denise is in the process of seeking approval for.
“We would love to do weddings here because it is such a romantic place and we think it would be a beautiful place to get married,” she said.
“I mean, I’d love my kids to get married here, which they’re very far away from, my youngest is two so it will be a while.”
The farm is hoping for a spring opening.