It's very early days but Justine Lapper is slowly growing a tiny flower farm, digdig.flower.farm, in the far north of New Zealand. She is not third generation farming stock, in fact up until a few months ago gardening was just an enjoyable interest of hers. However, that's all changed; doing anything for upwards of ten hours a day, seven days a week, in all weathers, no longer counts as a hobby in her book.
Justine would love to say that this is the culmination of a life long dream, that she has been studying encyclopaedias of flowers and horticulture since she was a child but this time last year she was up to her neck in a multi million dollar, high risk project with an impressive pay packet and an even higher likelihood of a stress induced illness. Project handover was planned for March 2016 and her husband lost his job in the February so they decided to go for 100% crazy and head north to buy a draughty old villa on 2 acres of land in the middle of nowhere... bliss!
"It seems fitting that I choose this, my fiftieth year, to leave the corporate world and a steady income behind to become a full time, self employed flower farmer." Justine is planning to sell bunches of old fashioned blooms at the local Farmers Markets; sweet peas, poppies, aquilegia, tulips, larkspur, roses, cosmos and dahlias to name just a few.
"Maybe it's a mid-life crisis, or maybe it's a middle aged meltdown, but what ever it is that has prompted me to dive headlong into a new and unfamiliar career I have never been happier, stronger or more content. I have also never worked as hard in my life but I aim to keep going for as long as I'm able and once it really is time to retire I'll write my autobiography 'From high heels to hobbit feet'."
Justine your move to a life up north must have been a daunting one but by the sounds of it, there is no where else you are meant to be. We cannot wait to see some of your gorgeous flowers and read that autobiography!