In 1983 Susan and Philip Cooke (Mum and Dad) brought a block of land between the state highway and Moores road in Barrys Bay, Banks Peninsula. They planted a wide range of winter vegetables including potatoes, broccoli, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes. A few years later they brought another block which had Proteas and Leucadendrons already planted. During Mothers day week they picked these and sent them into Christchurch with great results. Over the next 6-7 years they slowly replaced vegetables with proteas and other Australian and South African varieties. In total they had 50 acres covered in beautiful flowering plants. Exporting was their main income with the flowers fetching high prices in Japan, but in 1991 after the sudden death of my father, Susan decided to stick to the local market.
Susan now lives in Christchurch and I am leasing the remaining 17 acres. I have chosen not to export as I do not believe in the nasty chemicals that have to be used as I want to make the farm as organic as possible. I want to continue growing the same varieties my parents did as I truly believe in them. The cut flowers are so long lasting and the plants are a true joy to have in your garden.