One of my favourite things to do come spring is tend to my garden. The sense of satisfaction you feel when you nurture something, watch it grow and it flourishes into something tantalising for your tastebuds or aesthetically pleasing for a tedious looking space is incredibly rewarding. However, as people continue to become more time-poor and gravitate towards apartment living, the luxury and idea of space or time for a garden all but becomes a distant dream.
Fleur&Wood are a Melbourne-based business who create mini-gardens (on wheels if you please) for people who are short on space and time. They are an instant addition to your home as they come fully established and ready to rock ‘n’ roll. You just need to hold up your end of the deal and water them regularly to keep them looking beautiful and fresh. Green thumbs aren’t even required for these bad boys. Fleur&Wood give people who are poor on space the opportunity to have an easy to maintain and rewarding garden of their own all using recycled materials. Hallelujah.
Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to speak with Fleur Macfarlane, one of the founders of Fleur&Wood, about her fabulous creations and how it all started.
What inspired the creation of Fleur&Wood?
The creation of Fleur&Wood was inspired when (after plenty of hints) my partner Rich hand-crafted a Wine Barrel Herb Garden for my birthday. I loved being able to pick the herbs fresh for my cooking – chillies, rosemary and parsley being my favourite. When we were entertaining we received some great comments from friends who were keen to have their own.
Rich is originally from the country and has a ute so logistics were easy and we started delivering the herb gardens to friends in return for dinner. The idea for Fleur&Wood grew from there and has evolved to be more than just great products but also a very satisfying and engaging outlet for Rich and I. The business brings together many defining character traits of us both – style, a love of fresh ingredients and meeting new people. The opportunity to craft something by hand also represents a departure away from the desk and daily grind and is a creative outlet for both of us.
Why are Fleur&Wood gardens a great choice for city dwellers?
Fleur&Wood gives people who are short on space and time the opportunity to have their own slice of garden packaged up in recycled products. Our signature product is the wine barrel garden on wheels but we also have a range of grape dipping tin gardens and planter boxes to suit all spaces, great and small. In this fast paced world we sometimes miss the simple and satisfying things in life, whether it’s fresh herbs that make dishes taste and look sensational or a flower garden to brighten up a small space.
What is the process behind Fleur&Wood? How does it work from start to finish?
The most satisfying aspect of running this business is our interaction with people, whether that is our suppliers or customers. We really enjoy meeting new and energetic people. With this in mind, we have taken a very hands on approach through every stage of the supply chain. We source and hand-pick our wine barrels directly from small wineries located in Melbourne’s surrounding winery districts, Rich then rolls up his sleeves and cuts the wine barrels in half using a homemade device he created with his Dad! I am the face of Fleur&Wood taking orders from customers, advising which plants are most suitable and arranging delivery. If available we both enjoy making deliveries where upon arriving at our customer’s doors, I love to chat to the customers, while Rich installs and plants out the barrels.
What should people be planting at this time of year?
Spring is by far the best time to be planting herbs. Pretty much all herbs thrive with plenty of sunshine but they also need to be watered nearly everyday to stay alive, especially in the warmer months.
Are Fleur&Wood gardens only for herbs? What else can you plant in them?
The idea behind Fleur&Wood was originally about growing your own herbs to cook with but we quickly realised that not everyone wants or has the time to maintain a herb garden. A citrus tree was our first alternative as it not only looks good but also bares fruit, but they too need plenty of water and sun. So in came the olive tree – the hardiest of the lot and it also looks beautiful in the barrel. We have also planted vegies such as tomatoes and lettuce for the green thumbs and lavender and gardenia plants for their fragrance. Fleur&Wood is all about personalising your barrel to suit your lifestyle so we are open to discussing any combination. The possibilities are endless.
What advice would you give to someone who has never had a garden before?
I suggest to plant herbs such as rosemary or mint that can survive with very little attention or an olive tree which are extremely hardy, can withstand erratic Melbourne weather and have a beautiful evergreen nature.
But if you are keen to get growing my advice is to treat your garden like a gold fish that needs feeding everyday but it’s not such a big deal if they miss a day here and there. Water, sun and the odd fertiliser is what the gardens need to survive. So while some gardens need more TLC than others, you can see them like your new best friend as they can be customised to your lifestyle and capabilities.
Why is growing your own herbs better than buying them?
This is my favourite question so far. Not only do you get the satisfaction of actually growing something that looks good and that you can also eat, the gardens are homegrown and easy on the back pocket.
If you were a plant, what would you be?
Definitely Mint…its fresh, versatile and an all round crowd pleaser!!
NB: If you haven’t heard of Pitchi yet, where have you been? Creative souls pitch their ideas to you via video link and give you the opportunity to purchase their products directly. There are some absolute pearlers on there.