Flowers must run in the blood of the Padovano family, who run Jonima Flowers in Yanderra, NSW, about 100 kilometres south-west of Sydney.
John Padovano is a third generation flower grower who established the business with his wife Ingrid Padovano 13 years ago. Back then, the couple only had two children, Nicola and Marco, (now 17 and 15 years old) but have since welcomed Luca and Daniella (now 13 and 11), all of whom are involved in some facet of farm life. ‘You find each of them have their own unique thing that they love about the farm, and we just encourage them and let them build that,’ says Ingrid of her children. ‘Marco for example loves working on the farm, so you always see him out there. He’s developed the same passion my husband has.’
Over a 100 flower varieties are now grown on the 25-acre property, from dahlias, to natives such as kangaroo paw and silver gum, and exotics including ranunculuses and poppies. All flowers are grown seasonally using only natural processes, which means no one flower is available year round.
Farms like Jonima are sadly increasingly rare in Australia, due to the huge rise in flower imports over the past decade. Ingrid says while there were once around 90 rose growers in Australia, this has diminished to about 20. ‘We’ve had to deal with the concept of imports coming into Australia and working out how to create a niche for our business so we can actually survive,’ Ingrid says. ‘We’re very much focused on the fact we’re local and seasonal, and the benefits that provides.’
Australian farmers have also had to contend with the ongoing drought, and many growers, including Jonima, were affected by the recent bushfires. ‘The past year has been a whirlwind,’ Ingrid says.
One of the main ways Jonima Flowers has been able to continue is by selling at farmers’ markets across NSW and Canberra, where the family can meet customers and educate them about the local industry. ‘It’s about providing that information, not just selling the flowers, so people have confidence in what we do,’ Ingrid says.
The last six months have obviously delivered their own set of challenges, but Jonima has again risen to the occasion. A silver lining of the pandemic has been more people rediscovering the unrivalled vibrancy and freshness of local blooms, due to restrictions on imports. Ingrid says she’s never seen such high demand for at-home flowers from customers seeking a closer connection to nature during these isolated times.
Jonima Flowers also sells wholesale, delivers to their local community, and creates seasonal arrangements for events. Ingrid describes her flower bouquet style as ‘wild and free’, featuring unstructured blooms and twisting elements that mimic the earth. ‘How I see nature, that’s how I create,’ she says. While the farm is not open to the public to roam, customers can also purchase flowers on site from the flower shed.
In the meantime, we highly recommend following Jonima Flowers on Instagram to vicariously experience this family’s idyllic farm life!