While the pandemic has brought its own set of challenges, a Wagga woman with a passion for flowers is still finding ways to help her business blossom.
Annette tenBroeke started up the Riverina Iris Farm as a gift to her mum and now, years down the track its become her passion and side business.
But, like so many other businesses in the region, the pandemic had dealt a significant blow.
"I have only about 20 per cent of the visitors I usually get coming through at the moment," Ms tenBroeke said.
"I can only accept appointments with people who are fully vaccinated, which has cut right back from the 500 visitors I usually get.
"However, it has been an amazing season for irises. Even though I was worried it would be too wet, they have done exceptionally well."
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For the most part, the farm is a one-woman show with Ms tenBroeke planting and maintaining the 1600 plants and taking care of any orders that come through.
She has done all this while working her regular full-time job, but Ms tenBroeke said she had found ways to help her business thrive despite the challenges.
"I have 1500 people on my mailing list, and I send them a catalogue so people can order and the balance has tipped," Ms tenBroeke said.
"It used to be that visitors made up 80 per cent of my orders, and now it's about 60 per cent that order via the catalogue."
Ms tenBroeke said the most challenging thing is not hiring the students from WorksforYou to help with the more arduous tasks such as weeding due to the lockdown.
But, she took up the challenge and decided to run her own experiment with a herbicide that successfully kept the weeds at bay.
"I have still managed to make it work," she said.
Ms tenBroeke said she would remain open for visitors until October 31, but she would need to return to full-time work.
However, as the easing of restrictions arrives on December 1, just in time for when the daylilies bloom, Ms tenBroeke said she hopes to see more visitors then.
"I will be open for the first two weekends in December," she said. "I am hoping that people will be eager to come out."
The Riverina Iris Farm at 13 Sycamore Road, Lake Albert, will be open every day from 10am to 4pm by appointment only.
Contact Ms tenBroeke to make a booking on 0432 777 142.
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