Zoë Field’s flower-filled life | Field of Roses

Zoë Field of Field of Roses, runs a flower farm and floral design studio with her mother, Sue Field. The farm is nestled in the beautiful Waingake Valley just outside of Gisborne, New Zealand. From a field overlooking rolling hills and the river valley below, they grow an assortment of garden roses, flowering annuals and perennials.

Inspired by her flower-filled life, Zoë has released her debut book that celebrates the joy and beauty of flowers throughout the seasons. She presents her work through a new lens. Combining her photography and flowering skills, the book offers readers of all ages a beautiful ‘seek & find’ element as well as practical lists of the photographed plants to capture the imagination of any gardener.

A series of enchanting botanical flat-lays depict the world of 15 creative characters, whose lives have been shaped by nature. To give voices to each character, Zoë partnered with writer and garden enthusiast Julia Aktinson-Dunn. Julia’s words so eloquently capture each character, from the flower farmer to the artist, embroiderer and botanist.

Along with the intricate flat-lays and named flower shots, there are photographs of Zoë and Sue’s garden dotted throughout the book, giving a sense of their vast growing grounds and the range of flowers within them.

Zoë speaks of her earliest memories of life with flowers in the book’s introduction:

“Flowers wove their way through my story, from barefoot adventures in mum’s garden to daisy chains threaded during school lunch breaks. I gardened all throughout my teen years – Mum would tend to her vegetables and I would fill the spaces with brightly coloured blooms. I experimented with beds of ranunculus and anemones, squealing with delight come spring as the beds burst into life after the long winter months.”

We interviewed Zoë about life as a flower farmer. You’ll also find an excerpt from Lost & Found below the Q&A —

Sue and Zoë Field in amongst their field of roses. [Photo by Mandi Nelson]

A simple spring bouquet of giant Colibri poppies, anemones and ranunculus.

Zoe, tell us a little about yourself and your life as a flower farmer, floral designer and photographer…

I’ve always been connected to flowers in some form, most of my jobs outside of school were connected to flowers in some way. I was the teenager her spent her rebellious years growing her own food to cook.

I studied floristry in Hamilton in 2010, returning home to work at a local flower shop. Not too long after that we started Field of Roses and it has truly consumed my life. I feel like all my great life lessons have been taught through the land and the flowers, they have raised me in many ways.

I live on our family farm, in a small house next to mum and dad’s, with the flower field just outside my door.

When I’m not working with flowers I’m either finding some other creative outlet, whether that be photography, knitting, cooking. You name it, I’ve most likely tried it.

I like to have multiple creative projects on the go. I think that’s the influence of mum in my life. She rarely sits still – not in the overly worked way but in that she finds joy in being busy. She always encouraged my messy creativity as a child and has continued to encourage my many endeavours.

I was the teenager her spent her rebellious years growing her own food to cook.

Can you tell us about your journey on starting/establishing your flower farm and floral career…

Mum and I started Field of Roses roughly 10 years ago, planting 500 garden roses after we found a hole in the flower market for the classic garden roses that lend themselves so beautifully to a wild romantic design style.

We really had no idea what we were doing when we first started, but in a way that’s all part of the fun. We learnt as we grew.

We started with roses and then expanded our cut flower garden, focusing on all the beautiful classic flowers that spark nostalgia for many people. Foxgloves (Digitalis), Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena), Granny’s Bonnets (Aquilegia vulgaris). These flowers often link us back to our childhood, reminding us of the gardens we grew up in.

I love photography. I am fully self taught, having bought a camera when I first started my job working at a florist shop (before Field of Roses. Along our journey I was always documenting our flowers and the field, and then I found a platform to share them on: Instagram.

I had no idea how much Instagram would change our lives. But as I started to share my photos and our followers grew, I became connected to this amazing worldwide community of flowers lovers. As a result, we were approached by talented florists from all over the world who were eager to host workshops on our farm. It was something I’d never even considered when we first started out on this journey but I instantly felt a real sense of purpose when I saw how our flowers inspired so many creatives.

Watching the workshop attendees picking from our flower fields and create art was truly inspiring. I felt we were on this trajectory, hosting workshops, supplying florists, flowering weddings… and then Covid lockdowns happened and that all changed.

This is where the idea for our book Lost & Found came from. As those things dropped away I had creative space to dream up new ideas. I’d had the idea for a seek and find book but never had the time to really act on it. I teamed up with Tonia Shuttleworth of Koa Press and together we created this fun, beautiful book that is equally joyous and informative.

Like all things that have come our way on this journey, we have embraced the unexpected. I truly believe that if you can nurture your passions, doors will open that you could never have imagined.

I feel like all my great life lessons have been taught through the land and the flowers, they have raised me in many ways.

What lessons have you learned along the journey of creating a garden?

A garden is a very personal thing. In the beginning I think it’s really important to learn through trial and error. It’s really unavoidable.

I also think it’s important to understand your soil. It’s like when you’re getting to know someone and you are learning about what they love and hate. It’s very relational in a weird way, if you listen, your soil has a lot to say.

There is one growing technique that I swear by, no matter what soil you have — the no-dig gardening method. Looking after your soil and building it up without much disturbance is a real game changer.

What would you say to encourage someone who is starting on a growing/gardening journey?

  • First off, grow the things that bring you joy.
  • Never take what the garden throws at you personally.
  • If one thing dies another thing flourishes, it always balances out like that.
  • With every fail learn what you can from it, what does it say about your soil or your climate.
  • And let your garden teach you how to grow.

Spring bouquet ingredients laid out ready for arranging. Light pink chantilly snapdragons, Colibri poppies, salmon ranunculus, tulips, anemones and hellebores.

What are your favourite plants and flowers to grow, and why?

This is a hard question as there are so many! It really depends on the season — Ranunculus in early spring, followed by sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) and bearded iris (Iris germanica) in mid-spring. Roses and clematis follow, then the dahlias, zinnias and heirloom chrysanthemums. I could keep going!

If you had to pick only three flowers to grow, what would they be?

An even harder question! Ok, so I’m going to get strategic with my answers…

First, the roses. For obvious reasons: they are beautiful but they also can tolerate our clay soil and not many perennials love our water retentive soil!

The second would be sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus). I never tire of their scent, I miss it when they finish for the season. After a long day my treat to myself is to go out and pick a jar full to have by my bed.

And my last choice would be Creme Brûlée phlox (Phlox drummondii). Kind of an underwhelming flower amongst the garden but in my design work I truly can’t get enough. It’s the perfect bridging colour, looks delicate but is a solid flower in all conditions!

How does your garden and surroundings affect your creative practice/overall sense of wellbeing?

The field is truly my sanctuary, it’s an endless source of inspiration. No two seasons are the same. I think as creatives we often tire easily of our art, yet the garden is great in that it is always offering up new inspiration.


— The following images and words are extracted from Lost & Found: Discover hidden treasures amongst the blooms by Zoë Field


In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined this ranunculus to be as heavenly as it has turned out to be. Last year, I spent weeks of research tracking down the corms to trial, tipped off by a florist who had spotted the variety in a magazine. And here now, in all its impossibly ruffled splendour, a single stem – the deep crimson centre fading to delicate hints of mauve as the colour moves through its petaled skirt. I pop it gently into the bucket with many others, and decide I will keep this one just for me, to bring a daily smile from the window sill above the sink.

My buckets are filling as quickly as the morning dew evaporates. I love this quiet time at the start of the day, moving through my bustling rows of blooms, which are already alight with the hum of bees. I remember the months of bed preparation, the careful sowing of seeds in the glasshouse before the eventual planting out of seedlings. The hundreds of bulbs planted deep into the earth in autumn, now coming to beautiful fruition in the warmth of spring. The visual rewards more than make up for the hard physical labour.

After processing the morning’s harvest, stripping off unneeded foliage and filtering out flowers that have passed their best, I settle for a cup of tea on the stoop of my shed. The energetic warmth of the fresh spring sun fills me with good feeling. I can hear the crunch of gravel as the florist pulls her car up the drive, the first of many collections of my farm-grown goods today. A day I know I will happily repeat for months on end.


1. Tulipa ‘Flaming Kiss’ – 2. Tulipa ‘Princess Irene’ – 3. Ranunculus asiaticus ‘Elegance Salmone’ – 4. Papaver nudicaule ‘Springsong’ – 5. Tulipa ‘Pretty Princess’ – 6. Antirrhinum majus ‘Tetra Ruffled Giants Mix’ – 7. Lathyrus odoratus ‘Piggy Sue’ – 8. Tulipa ‘Orange Princess’ – 9. Ranunculus asiaticus Orange – 10. Tulipa ‘Mascotte’ – 11. Ranunculus asiaticus ‘Purple Jean’ – 12. Matthiola incana ‘Katz Apricot’ – 13. Anemone coronaria ‘Mistral Tigre’ – 14. Tulipa ‘Double Prince’ – 15. Viola x wittrockiana ‘Antique Shades’ – 16. Ranunculus asiaticus ‘La Belle’ – 17. Reseda alba White Mignonette

Lost & Found: Discover hidden treasures amongst the blooms by Zoë Field

(RRP $65, www.koapress.co.nz)

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