The Flower Farm, Brisbane has grown the freshest local flowers in the Redlands District for over 40 years. Find out more!
Did you know that the Sihota family have lived locally and grown flowers in the Redlands district for over 40 years? Let’s take a walk through the family history of The Flower Farm, Brisbane.
The Flower Farm Brisbane. Hand sown. Hand-picked. Hand crafted. Locally owned.
Tarsem and Harbans Sihota have ‘growing’ in their blood. And they brought this love and passion all the way from their family farms in the northern India Punjab region to the beautiful Redlands District here in Queensland.
Harbans’ grandfather came to Australia in 1881 and worked as a sugar cane labourer. Her father arrived in 1925 and worked in far north Queensland, ultimately in banana farming. When Tarsem moved to Australia, his first job was at a Murwillumbah sawmill. He did this during the week and on weekends helped on the Harbans’ family banana farm in nearby Dunbible.
If you see their trusty 1975 Toyota Land Cruiser you should know that it started life transporting those northern NSW bananas, and today it still works on The Flower Farm Brisbane! What stories it could tell.
Strawberry fields – the first farm
54 Bailey Road, Birkdale ~ Redland Shire 1978
In search of a new adventure, in 1978 Tarsem and Harbans moved to the Redlands area. They purchased a seven-acre property on Bailey Road at Birkdale. It had previously been a grape farm, a product of the large Italian population at the time.
Tarsem and Harbans lived in a caravan on the property and established a strawberry farm. They sold strawberries to markets in Brisbane and Sydney. They also grew and sold white cucumbers to Brisbane markets, which proved extremely popular.
Through this time, Tarsem and Harbans experimented with growing carnations and chrysanthemums. Their first crop flowered in time for Mothers’ Day, so they faced a steep learning curve for picking and arranging!
As fresh flowers weren’t sold at the Brisbane markets, the (then) Department of Primary Industries helped to set their first price - $2! Word soon spread that the new home of fresh flowers Brisbane was in Birkdale, with the Sihotas’ coveted chrysanthemums and carnations.
1980 ~ 54 Bailey Road, Birkdale ~ start of the flower dream.
Fresh Flowers Brisbane – the second farm
Of course, they weren’t happy to just let things ride and the Sihotas were ready for a new challenge. So the Flower Farm found its second – and current! – home in 1981, at 72 Birkdale Road. The new property already had a bore and many established fruit trees. But the Sihotas set out to make improvements, installing a 75,000-litre cement tank to collect water, as well as electricity and an underground irrigation system.
Later that year they planted their first crop of chrysanthemums, which Tarsem says is the best crop he has ever seen. Perhaps this is due to the rich, virgin red soil (after which the Redlands district is named). Or perhaps it’s the passion of the growers!
Either way, it wasn’t long before The Flower Farm was supplying fresh flowers to dozens of local florists across southeast Queensland, and interstate from Sydney to Perth.
Transition from T.S & H.K. Sihota Partnership ~ Birkdale Flowers Pty Ltd Company with their eldest son Ashok Sihota
The Flower Farm – the third farm
Over time, they needed more space. So the Sihotas expanded to a 12-acre site further along Birkdale Road. They intended this property to grow flowers for wholesale clients. Unfortunately, the upgrade of Birkdale Road to four lanes separated the two farm sites. And new streetlights affected the bloom timing for the flowers, and the Sihotas lost a whole crop of chrysanthemums!
But the Sihotas weren’t about to be bested. As a barrier between the flowers and streetlights, the Sihotas planted lady finger bananas, drawing on their past farming experience. This was a lucky break, as the organic bananas were a hit, selling at $2 / hand.
Early 1990s Mother's Day & Bottom Left: Local NewsPaper Photo
Paddock to vase – a move away from wholesale
The Flower Farm: Continuing to bloom 40 years on. Picture February 2022
After a couple of decades of growing flowers for wholesale supply, the Sihotas shifted focus to providing Redlands local retail customers with the best fresh flowers in Brisbane. This was their version of ‘paddock to plate’!
In 2005, daughter Sharon returned from her corporate accounting career to manage The Flower Farm’s daily operations and guide the new direction, along with brother Ashok. Daughter Hardeesh helps from time to time, particularly during the busy Mothers’ Day period when it’s all hands-on-flowers (so to speak!). And even the grandchildren are involved. Of course, as an authentic, three-generation family business, Tarsem and Harbans remain involved with the farm’s daily operations as well.
Rock ’N’ Soil – a new venture
Son Robinder is also a regular fixture at The Flower Farm, having returned to his roots after a career as a lawyer and barrister. Robinder also runs Rock ‘N’ Soil, using his years of experience on The Flower Farm to bridge the gap between landscape suppliers and clients.
Three generations of fresh flowers Brisbane
With three generations still working at The Flower Farm, the Sihotas’ contribution to their local Redlands community is significant. Their years of hard work, agricultural experience and entrepreneurial spirit combine to create the perfect hand sown, hand-picked, hand-crafted fresh flowers.