The hills are alive with the… sight of sunflowers! Known for their famous road side florist “The Road Stall” on Monbulk Road and their recent Spring St CBD addition of the same namesake, most people probably don’t know that beyond the farm gate, Monbulk locals Guy and Belinda McDermott also propagate!
For 43 years “The Road Stall” has been an iconic roadside flower stop in the Dandenong Ranges with queues forming down Monbulk Road on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Formerly owned by the DeGroot family, the acreage of land behind the existing Road Stall was developed for bulb lines, iris, freesia, chrysanthemum and lily. The land was then sold to Belinda’s father Hans Duivenvoorden, a Dutch migrant with a background in flower growing in 1994 who took over the business. Guy and Belinda moved into the Road Stall residence and took over the reins with their young family four years ago and started production of Sunflower, Matricaria, Ranuncula and Kale. Along with our flower of the month, “Teddy Bear Sunflower”, their other lines serve to support their road side stall, CBD shop and Guy’s wholesale business which supplies fresh flower section of supermarket chain “Leo’s”. You can read more about our Flower of the Month here.
At the age of 17, Guy started an apprenticeship in Flower Production before moving to Holland for 12 months and travelling back and forth to the UK between various stints working on flower farms including Tesselaar, Koomen’s and The Tulip Garden. He gained insight and knowledge in all areas of the cut flower industry (including sales countrywide and working at the Wholesale Flower Market) before branching out into his own boutique wholesaling and growing business. Our Flowers Victoria ‘Flower of the Month’ The Teddy Bear sunflowers apparently take twice as long as normal sunflowers to grow and are essentially completely picked out after a 2 week period. When questioned why sunflowers were one of their select flowers given their short yield and lengthy growth cycle, Guy shrugs and says “Because we really like them and seed lines such as sunflowers suit our space”. It’s easy to see why once you stand between these infectiously happy giants all nodding their fluffy yellow heads towards the sun.
Guy’s business keeps him very busy and both he and Belinda have strong connections with local flower and foliage farmers where Guy selects fresh and seasonal blooms for both The Road Stall and his own boutique wholesale/growing business, to support local farmers and their families. “When you are your own boss, you never get bored!” he says with a smile.
My aim is to change the impression of cut flowers in supermarkets, particularly high end, by introducing interesting and locally sourced flowers that people recognise for being premium and grown in Victoria” Guy says. Together they both bring their labour and ‘love for local’ to the road side, to the supermarket and to the CBD!
Images below: Guy McDermott with his Teddy Bear Sunflowers.