Mannerim Stables Co.
Spring has sprung and what better way to celebrate than by taking a country drive out to the beautiful Mannerim Stables Flower Farm in Marcus Hill. Just twenty minutes drive from Geelong and a ninety minutes from Melbourne, this enchanting property will fill your heart with a gleeful sense of happiness, and you won’t want to leave!
As we pulled up on the quiet country road, a gorgeous gate beckons us down a long winding driveway, flanked with huge established pine trees. We rounded the bend to find a cart filled with freshly cut blooms. As we found out later, you can buy bunches of flowers every day from the cart, leaving your cash in the honesty box.
Like a scene out of Dynasty, the Mannerim Stables driveway is bordered with paddocks filled with frolicking horses, who stop and look at us as we drive by. As we reached the main stables, a friendly gentleman on a four wheeler tractor greets us and introduces himself as Murray, or ‘Muz’. His tractor is holding the most magnificent daffodils I have ever seen, and he smiles and chats to us about the property as his cheeky Jack Russell dog sits on his knee.
Murray explains that the Mannerim Stables are open on Saturday’s and Sundays, and will soon be open to the public to “pick your own” flowers. We promise to return and continue our exploration the following weekend.
As we arrive back, the girls are instantly squealing with delight at the fluffy rabbit in the hutch near the car park and the chook who greets us with a loud cock-a-doodle-doo! Like some kind of fairytale the large barn door of the Stables is wreathed in azaleas, potted jonquils, and a bike with a basket, filled with more divine daffodils. Tick!
Brooklyn, Murray’s daughter greets us at the door, inviting us inside. The Mannerim Stables space is beautifully designed and laid out, with the florist store taking centre stage. Offering blooms of many different varieties, all are freshly cut and grown on the property. Hyacinths, daffodils, poppies, tulips, cherry blossoms and more – it was a hard choice making a selection.
The story behind the Stables
We get chatting to both Brooklyn and Murray who has come in to say hello again. We learn that the Stables were originally built only three years ago, as a space to showcase the family’s horses to prospective buyers. Along with flowers, the family also breeds Quarter Horses, better known as performance horses who are bred and trained to handle cattle in a western style performance arena. In the last 17 years the family has developed a fine reputation as some of the best quarter horse breeders in the business.
The barn was inspired by travels through the US and the iconic Dutch immigrant barns in the countryside. I love barns too, so I understand this passion! With a love for recycled materials, the Stables comprises of stone, weathered timber bridge pillars hailing from Sydney harbour and galvanised iron from Apollo Bay. It was a labour of love as every family member was directly involved in the build, from Murray’s design to hunting down materials from Sydney to Woodend and Camperdown. Old pieces were sourced and given new life, like the old cart wheels converted into feature chandeliers, all incorporated into décor and providing character to the interior of the Stables.
You can certainly feel the passion that has gone into this place, and the sense of soul within the building that suggests a much older age than it is, perhaps due to the recycled materials.
What’s on Offer
Core business for owners, Murray and Berniece for the last 30 years has always been the flowers. The farm supply’s commercial cut flowers to the Melbourne Wholesale Flower market and wholesales bulbs nationally.
Only in the last 12 months, the farm has been opened to the public to supply site grown produce to visitors. The vision was to allow visitors to experience a working farm and promote the ‘field to vase’ and ‘paddock to plate’ experience.
Site grown produce available at the farm gate includes:
– Fresh cut flowers
– Chemical free veg
– Free range eggs
– Potted flowering bulbs
– Autumn & Spring flowering bulbs
“Pick Your Own Flowers ” will be offered through spring and summer, 11-3pm on weekends, starting September 24th, 2016.
A family affair
Mannerim Stables is a family operation with all hands on deck seven days a week to make it work. Murray may be laconic and happy to chat for hours, but behind that big moustache, there is clearly a man with a work ethic of steel. He and wife Berniece work on the farm together throughout the week managing multiple horses and other farm animals, planting and picking the produce and working the land.
Brooklyn seems to have inherited the same true grit, wearing multiple hats as a mum to a 13-month-old Emmerson, practising as a financial planning consultant, managing the farm gate on weekends and helping out and learning as much as she can from Murray on the farm. Husband Brad, helps with photography and takes care of Emmerson on weekends as well as running his own consulting project management business.
Brooklyn tells me there are plans to grow more fresh produce, introduce new farm animals for children to enjoy and add to the burgeoning flower portfolio, all to come in the coming months.
There is great potential at Mannerim Stables, and a million things come to mind for what it could become. But there is an air of composed serenity here and the family are admirably in no hurry to grow too fast. For now, the budding business is just finding its feet and content to grow organically into whatever the future holds. I loved visiting this place and it was a delight to meet such passionate hard working folk contributing to the local community and industry. I would thoroughly recommend it and I wish them all the very best for their business.
Mannerim Stables Co.
542/580 Swan Bay Road
Marcus Hill, VIC.
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