John Van Woudenberg, local flower grower and passionate gardener visits the Farmers Markets regularly with his beautiful cut flowers.
> Where did your passion for flowers begin?
I would say my grandfathers on both sides of the family have influenced me as they were both avid gardeners. In fact, grandpa on dad’s side, had a big nursery and grew indoor pot plants. That was in Europe.
No one else in my family got into this industry, not any of my brothers or sisters. I actually had a great job within the wool industry and when that finished, I decided to turn to my hobby and make it my job.
It has been a job and passion ever since.
> Tell us what that involves …
I grow cut flowers for the local markets and farmers markets. I have been doing that for a long time.
I started out at the Sydney Flower markets and was there for 21 years.
I came to Port Macquarie in 1998 and went to all the local florists to find out if they would be interested if I did the same thing here.
They said they were very interested, so I started my business here.
> What type of flowers do you grow?
Mainly cottage flowers, depending on the season, but mostly snap dragons, delphiniums, asters, some lisianthus.
Coming into winter now we will have snap dragons and also moluccella (green bells of Ireland).
> How long have you been going to the Wauchope Farmers Markets?
I have been going since its inception! I am proud to say I have never missed a market.
I love attending and having the interaction with the people that come to visit.
The customers and stallholders are very friendly and I enjoy talking to Sonia (Fingleton) as well.
> How does attending the markets help your business?
It is an incentive to go there just to supply the public with something they like, and at a reasonable price. That is my aim.
> How do you go about growing flowers on your property on King Creek?
We have 12 acres, and about two acres of that is under growth (flowers).
Different plants come and go. I tend to just go with the seasons, which I think is very important. I follow the seasons and then people will enjoy something different throughout the year.
I don’t focus on the high days, like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter, etc. I just aim to have something 52 weeks of the year.
> Do you supply flowers to other outlets?
I supply all the florists in Port Macquarie, and visit them on Mondays and Thursdays.
> What keeps you passionate about your business?
I just love doing it. I love the outdoors, and it is part and parcel of my life now.
> What would be your favourite flower?
I have no idea, that is very difficult to say! I grow what I like growing and what I can sell.
I wouldn’t grow flowers which I didn’t like.
> Is there an art behind growing flowers? Are they quite delicate?
It is like tending to children or babies, or a set of puppies … you wouldn’t leave them alone, you would care for them all the time.
There is always something to be done, you know there is caring, watering, and feeding. Even if I wouldn’t pick a flower to sell, I have to pick it to discard it – because if I don’t pick it, I won’t get more.
It is a time consuming passion. There can be hard work at times, but I enjoy it immensely.
> Thank you John.