A shared love of flowers and writing has seen an online Instagram connection between a Melbourne novelist and a local rose and peony farmer blossom into a real-life friendship.
Finding herself inspired by the emerging 'slow flower' movement (micro, sustainable, flower farming) in Australia and the world over, Vanessa Carnevale decided to set her latest novel, The Memories That Make Us, on a fictional flower farm in Daylesford, Victoria; a region she is very fond of and where she hosts regular writers' retreats.
In preparation for the novel, the author undertook extensive research into the world of flower farming and it was then that she came across Danielle White's rose and peony farm in Pipers Creek, Crofters Fold Estate, and Consortium Botanicus, a collective of micro, seasonal flower farmers and of which Danielle is a founding member.
"I've always loved flowers but I had never really grown any, aside from the odd potted petunia or snapdragon," Vanessa said.
"I remember stumbling across a flower farming blog and then came to notice that there were lots of people around the world turning their hands to small-scale flower farming. I was smitten.
"Before writing The Memories That Make Us I never thought about where bought flowers came from or what kind of work was involved in getting them from field to vase.
"Now that I've written the book, I really do hope that it helps to raise awareness of everything a collective like Consortium Botanicus stands for. I'm first and foremost a novelist, but I have also become very passionate about supporting Australia's local flower growers."
Danielle said Vanessa's book was about so much more than flower farming.
"What struck me most was how perceptively she captures the complex relationship between beauty and toil that lures folks like us to farm flowers the world over," Danielle said.
"Holistic flower farming, no matter what the scale, isn't for the faint-hearted; especially if you aim to produce consistent, high-quality, perfumed blooms without using nasty chemicals and large-scale controlled environments. But, like a good book, flowers farmed in harmony with Mother Nature are good for the soul."
Danielle will be in conversation with Vanessa for 'Morning Tea and Blooms' - a special event for flower lovers and bookworms alike - from 10.30am - noon on Sunday May 13 at the Green Folly Nursery in Castlemaine.
Learn more about the cultivation of perfumed blooms and their positive impact on our lives, along with how flowers inspired Vanessa to craft her novel, followed by a Q&A and book signing.
Cost is $55 per person and includes a copy of the book and light refreshments.
Bookings essential: www.vanessacarnevale.com/morningtea
RSVP by Friday May 4.
The book is also available locally at Aesop's Attic in High Street, Kyneton.