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From little things big things grow

WORDS

Todd Kuchel

photography

Sam Kroepsch

>> Maggie Ryan, Business owner of Miss Maggies Flowers and events manager at Chateau Tanunda

With seventeen years’ experience in the flower industry, Maggie Ryan has solidified herself in the community as a reputable business woman who exudes an energy that could only be obtained by realising the success of one’s own ambitions.

Maggie left high school in year eleven, intending to be a visual merchandiser.

After realising the difficulty of attaining such a job, she instead began work as an apprentice chef.

Whilst she enjoyed the pace and pressure of the food industry, Maggie knew it was not the career for her and fell into a florist apprenticeship in 2003 at Viva The Flower Store.

There she completed her Certificate Two in floristry and after two years, decided to leave to do floor and wall tiling with her partner for nine months to save enough money to open her own shop.

As a young girl Maggie used to harass her Nanna, walking around her garden asking, what’s this, what’s that, what colour does it come in?

“It was an obsession from day dot,” Maggie smiles.

In 2005, Maggie opened her own florist, ‘Miss Maggie’s Flowers’ in the Tanunda museum building.

Along with her own business, Maggie also ran the museum and helped out with The Vintage Festival and Tanunda Show, which she has sponsored every year since.

When 2008 arrived, Maggie had worked every day for three years.

“It was a seven day a week shop,” Maggie says.

“I was really dedicated and got to meet some lovely customers whom I still deliver flowers to every week.”

Ultimately, realising the growing popularity of online shopping, Maggie closed her store and relocated to her home studio in Eden Valley, where she and her partner for the last 13 years have been planting quite heavily to guarantee availability and reduce flower miles.

“We’ve pretty much run out of room,” Maggie says.

“It’s been 13 years of patience waiting for the garden to be big enough to rely on.”

Maggie still collects three deliveries each week from the markets and when a bride wants a certain shade of peach for her wedding she’ll go down and hand select it.

“I want to know it’s perfect! I wouldn’t put just anyone in charge of table centres. People are paying a premium price for a premium product and the facade is that I’m making it, so I’m making it.”

- Maggie Ryan

Her home is for other things to add to the mix which she can control. 

Maggie also insists on creating her arrangements herself.

“I want to know it’s perfect,” she says proudly.

“I wouldn’t put just anyone in charge of table centres.

“People are paying a premium price for a premium product and the facade is that I’m making it, so I’m making it.”

In 2016 Maggie gained a lot of credibility by placing second in the best floral bouquet in Australia.

Maggie is also proud of the fact that she is the only florist she is aware of that recycles their green waste.

“We turn it all back into mulch,” Maggie explains.

“It’s about a three year cycle before we turn it into the garden bed that we next plant in. We’re trying to keep it as ecofriendly as possible.”

For customer’s convenience, Maggie has also made available four outlets in the Barossa which are open seven days a week, Taste Eden Valley, The Barossa Fresh Foodland, The Novotel and The Blackbird Coffee House.

“Then in my spare time,” Maggie chuckles. “I’m the events manager at Chateau Tanunda.”

Maggie was headhunted for this job due to being a well-known local person with credibility. Maggie has been there for almost two years now.

“It’s a firm juggle,” she admits. “Thank god for IPhones, calendars and all of that otherwise I would fall in a heap.”

The Chateau has enabled Maggie to organise events like the Vintage Festival and Gourmet Weekend to full capacity.

“For me to give back to the community with events like these is awesome.

“To have friends come in and say they had a great time is what makes it all worthwhile, because I work my butt off!”

If Maggie’s days weren’t busy enough, she has also been running a local hamper business called Barossa baskets for the last five years!

“It’s another monster I’ve created that I need to juggle,” Maggie smiles.

So a typical day for Maggie might involve a funeral in the morning before a drive to the flower market, a drive back for corporate deliveries and to restock the outlets.

She might be then required at the Chateau to host an experience for 52 people before driving home to start a wedding for the next day or perhaps even grab a glass of wine and go down the block and pick for the next couple of days.

“Sunday is my day off,” Maggie exhales. “That’s my day of sanity.”

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