Small Ripon town home to Australia's last remaining dried flower farm

There is only one dried flower farm in Australia and it is in our own backyard. 

Fiona Grover has been producing lavender, roses and wheat for the Australian dried flower market since 1994 at her Barkly Lavender and Rose Farm.

She said a passion for gardening quickly turned into a hobby just over 25 years ago, and has now become the only farm of its kind in the country.

“I was a gardener from way back and I did floristry courses,” Ms Grover said. 

“Then I started drying flowers because it was convenient at the time- I could start and go back to it at a later time.

“And now, apart from Ebay, I am the only dried flower farm in Australia.”

Ms Grover said more farms of her kind existed when she first entered the market, but that number slowly dwindled.

“A lot of people were owed money,” she said.

“But also the fashion changed- there was a great interest in native flowers and cottage garden flowers, but this changed to a real minimal look to suit modern housing.”

Ms Grover said she did not change, but turned to digital to access a wider demographic. 

“I just kept going with my website and people became more familiar with searching on the internet.

“Ten years ago this was not the case- now I supply across Victoria, interstate and I have had international offers, but I don’t do that.”

Ms Grover moved to Barkly because of the area’s gold mining interest. 

It has now become the humble home of her business.

“My children were interested in gold mining and the area has a lot of gold fossickers, even still today,” she said.

While her business is set up in the small country town just east of Navarre, Ms Grover lives in Ballarat.

“It is a bit daunting knowing I am running the only farm of this kind in the country,” she said.

“One day I will have to retire- so hopefully I can sell the business and it can continue.

“It is more than a business for me- it is a passion and has become my community of like-minded people.”

This story Ripon home to Australia’s only dried flower farm | Photos first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.