This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Micro Flower Farm In Trentham, Decades In The Making

Regional

Sandy McKinley lives and breathes roses. The self-trained florist has a lifetime of experience in flower growing and wedding design, and she also has her own tiny flower farm!

With her heart set on a weekend country house surrounded by flowers, in 2007, Sandy set out to transform a humble miner’s cottage in Trentham, Victoria and its surrounding paddocks into her own micro flower farm and dreamy country retreat – and so came about the idyllic Acre of Roses. After a recent upgrade in 2018, Sandy and her partner Rob have transformed the property into boutique accomodation.

Though those of us in metropolitan Melbourne aren’t going anywhere for the next little while, bookmark this delightful gem for future travels. And for those of you who can get out and about, this is the perfect weekend getaway!

13th July, 2020

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Sandy in her flower farm. Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Photo – Marnie Hawson.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 13th July 2020

With the middle name of ‘Rose’, it seems fitting that Sandy McKinley has cultivated a life surrounded by flowers. Whilst all things botanical have been a lifelong passion for Sandy, this enthusiasm became all the more serious in 2007, when she stumbled across the listing for a ramshackle miner’s cottage in Trentham, a charming heritage town in the Hepburn Shire of Victoria. It had all the foundations of a dream country escape, plus an acre of paddocks to plant the tiny flower farm she had always longed for.

Sandy and her partner Rob set about removing the fields of wild blackberries overgrowing the paddocks in order to plant 1,000 roses (!) acquired from a local tree nursery. The pair’s local affiliations grew from there, as they joined forces with neighbouring flower farm Crofters Fold to establish Consortium Botanicus, a network of slow flower farms across the shire.

From this initiative, sprang the Daylesford Macedon Slow Flower Farm Trail, where regional visitors can now obtain naturally grown flowers from a range of local, bee-friendly flower farms. Sandy’s emphasis on a holistic approach to organic flower farming has culminated in many other local collaborations, such as the rose petal kefir she makes with The Fermentary in Daylesford, as well as workshops on edible flowers and flower therapy she runs in summer!

This integrated approach to botanical living has worked incredibly well for Sandy’s own micro-farm, which today grows more than 1,700 roses. She and Rob retail their roses direct-to-consumer, as well as to DIY brides and florists. This hyperlocalised business model has driven Rob and Sandy into a niche but clever market – they specialise in elopements!

With this in mind, accommodation for a private, self-contained wedding seemed an essential addition to Sandy and Rob’s home-grown business. And so, in 2018 the pair set about upgrading the cottage on the property – re-stumping, re-flooring and re-decorating, with assistance from designer Belle Hemming Bright.

‘We wanted the look and feel to be nurturing, comfortable but luxurious,’ explains Sandy. Working with a collection of found and recycled objects Sandy had accumulated over the years, Belle created a subtle but distinct personality for every room, each of which connects to the overall Cape-Cod-meets-Country aesthetic maintained throughout the residence. Now known as Acre of Roses, the updated residence and thriving flower farm is now available for short term accommodation!

This idyllic country escape is a constant source of inspiration for Sandy, for whom the place is always a ‘work in progress’. In the future she plans to add a glass orangery off the main building, in order to create a conservatory-like dining space inspired by English farmhouse kitchens. After that, she plans to convert the dining room into a library and reinstate the original 1860s fireplace! And if Sandy gets her way, this will soon be followed by a studio barn on the rear of the site, fitted with copper hardware and detailing.

Acre of Roses is open for guests based outside of Metropolitan Melbourne who are still able to travel within Victoria. You can book your stay at The Miner’s Cottage here. The Potting Shed will re-open for guests on September 1st 2020.

This Week

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture Finalists!

From an off-the-grid cottage to a sustainable urban commune, these are the best residential architecture projects in Australia.
Lucy Feagins

Modernist Australia

A Fond Farewell To Modernist Australia!

Going, going... GONE! We bid a sad adieu to Trish Callan, and look back at some highlights from Modernist Australia, the website that raised...
Sasha Gattermayr

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

A French Provincial Dreamland In West Gippsland, Inspired By Monet’s Giverny Garden!

A pair of Australian francophiles bring their love of the French countryside to regional Australia.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Events Florist Who Flipped Her Business Model To At-Home Delivery

How florist Gina Lasker of Georgie Boy has embraced a direct-to-consumer business model to support local flower growers during Covid:19.
Sasha Gattermayr

The Planthunter

An Artist's Blissful Garden Wonderland In Daylesford

Over 13 years Lily Langham has intuitively transformed her husband's inherited family farmland into a breathtaking, bountiful paradise.
Georgina Reid

This Week

Gardens

A Fragrant, Inner-City Garden Rejuvenates This Heritage Home

Landscape designer Nadia Gill creates two gardens with two very different personalities - on one block in East Melbourne!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Kerryn Levy's Wonderfully Wonky Ceramics

A studio visit with the Adelaide-based ceramicist known for her distinctly collectible statement candelabras.
Sasha Gattermayr
  14 hours ago

Dream Job

Creating Captivating Content With The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney’s Digital Marketing And Media Coordinator, Victoria Ngu

The digital marketing and media co-ordinator of one of Australia's oldest public gardens fills us in on her dream job, from good email etiqu...
Sasha Gattermayr

News

The New Collection Of Desert-Inspired Ceramics At The Top Of Our Wishlist!

Reflecting the muted tones of the desert and endless ripples of sand dunes, we’re seriously coveting the beautiful new Infinity collec...
Sponsored

Creative People

These Colourful Cakes Are Straight Out Of A Wes Anderson Movie!

When the pandemic hit and Melbourne-based chef Patchanida Chimkire lost all her work, she said ‘Let them eat cake!’ And Instagram did.
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

A Creative Family's Eclectic Apartment in Melbourne’s CBD

Designer Michael Chazan and photographer Ying Ang have made this new Melbourne CBD apartment their character-filled family home.

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace Renovation Inspired By Feng Shui

Using feng shui principles, Steffen Welsch Architects have reimagined a functional and beautiful terrace home in Melbourne's inner-north.

News

The ULTIMATE Friends And Family Cookbook From Illustrator Extraordinaire, Alice Oehr

The Melbourne-based creative took the opportunity of lockdown to finish her 6-year long project – a nation-wide recipe collection!

Shopping

Dreamy New Homewares From Maison Balzac To Level Up Your Dinner Table

Is it just us, or is coloured glassware having a moment? This Sydney-based brand takes the trend to new heights!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

The House That Lived

When bushfires ravaged the NSW South Coast this summer, this house by Collins Pennington Architects survived.
Amelia Barnes
  22 hours ago

Art

Paul Davies’ Paintings Capture The Essence Of Iconic Modernist Architecture

The Australian painter returns home after 6 years in the United States with a showstopping exhibition!
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

Julia's Raspberry, Coconut And Lime Cake

Julia Busutill Nishimura delivers a triple-threat of tropical flavours in one delicious loaf. It's like a holiday in your mouth!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

News

We've Found This Summer's Most Snazzy Kitchen Appliances

Give your kitchen the old razzle dazzle with the launch of this iridescent collection of De’Longhi appliances!
Sponsored
39:53

Podcast

A Podcast Conversation With Interior Designer Mim Fanning

Mim chats to Lucy about her impressive career journey, from solo design consultant to launching and growing Mim Design, and her role as amba...

Giveaway

Holiday At Home And WIN $1,000 To Spend With Kip&Co!

The brand's vibrant new Vacay collection promises to make your home as warm and bright as a sojourn by the seaside. Enter now!
Lucy Feagins

Similar Stories

Gardens

A French Provincial Dreamland In West Gippsland, Inspired By Monet’s Giverny Garden!

A pair of Australian francophiles bring their love of the French countryside to regional Australia.
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Events Florist Who Flipped Her Business Model To At-Home Delivery

How florist Gina Lasker of Georgie Boy has embraced a direct-to-consumer business model to support local flower growers during Covid:19.
Sasha Gattermayr

The Planthunter

An Artist's Blissful Garden Wonderland In Daylesford

Over 13 years Lily Langham has intuitively transformed her husband's inherited family farmland into a breathtaking, bountiful paradise.
Georgina Reid

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.