Meet Sandy and Rob
New Zealand born Floral Artisan Sandy McKinley and Melbournian Rob Roy, Trentham’s own Bob the Builder, are founders and custodians of Acre of Roses.
Sandy and Rob’s story is one of deep friendship rooted in their mutual Celtic heritage blossoming into an enduring partnership via a series of serendipitous events and connections that lead them to where they are today.
Sandy left her career as a marketer to pursue her childhood passion for flowers when she moved next door to a renowned and newly retired florist who trained and mentored Sandy to open her own floral studio where she created a successful business growing her own peonies and crafting events and weddings in the region. When the opportunity to purchase 1,000 mature heritage rose bushes arose Sandy & Rob grasped at it to fulfil their vision.
Rob, experienced in restoring historic homes and no slouch in the floral arrangement department himself, set about renovating their cosy Miner’s Cottage with the same tenacity he applied many years earlier breaking in horses. He says it’s been kind of the same thing. Hard work but incredibly rewarding to see raw beauty realise its potential.
And just like that An Acre of Roses was born.
An Acre of Stories
Acre of Roses has been brought to life in collaboration with the help of a very talented community of local gardeners and creative souls. More than a beautiful cottage and garden, it’s become an acre of stories narrated by the property and people who have contributed to its growth.
Tim Pilgrim, the horticulturalist behind Paul Bangay and The Estate Trentham’s productive gardens, is the resident gardener. Together Sandy and Tim have developed the land to include a potager; fruit trees; herbaceous borders; a wildflower meadow; the roses; and beehives to pollinate it all.
When Rob brought home a windfall of local salvaged bricks local artist and stonemason, Tom Hamlon, was invited to create a folly that was inspired by Sandy’s fascination for ruins, and her family stories of an ancient castle on a clifftop that was the family seat at Rathlin Island in Ireland; and, of the local region’s gold rush ruins. Tom created a folly that is a rustic idyll and gateways the romantic wildflower meadow beyond.
The interiors of the Miner’s Cottage have been decorated and styled by Belle Hemming-Bright of Inside Story.