When it comes to running a home floristry business, Danni-ann Hogan will take tableland country over buffel any day of the week.
Based on Allambie Station, 70 kilometres south west of Springsure, her latest business venture - Dry Design - showcases the beauty of the Australian bush through a series of dried flower arrangements from her own 'backyard'.
Danni-ann created the business in August 2021 to fulfil her passion for working outdoors, while transitioning from ringer life to full-time mother of three.
"I was starting to think while the kids played more independently what I was going to do for this next stage of my life, because ringer life doesn't really go hand in hand with motherhood," she said.
Growing up on a cattle property at Middlemount, Danni-ann can still remember the smell of leopardwood trees flowering in spring while mustering as a kid.
Although horse-mad at the time, her interest in gardening didn't start until she and her husband Will secured a management role at Allambie Station seven years ago.
"I couldn't really care less about the garden when I was a kid, I used to find it quite boring and I was horse mad and wanted to chase cows, so I didn't pay any attention then," she said.
"It wasn't until I got my own house yard that the penny sort of dropped that I liked to see what I could achieve and to be proud of your home.
"It gives me great joy to get my hands dirty, I always feel like I can think straighter when I'm outdoors and it's making something with your own two hands."
As a kid Danni-ann can remember her mother, Judy Wroe, entering garden competitions, and taking them to nurseries.
"My sister and I would joke about having the boxes on our laps in the car, with grubs crawling on us and water dripping on us," she said.
"Now I'm guilty of entering our local show with flowers every year."
When the Hogans first arrived at Allambie, the yard had been full of weeds and was quite overgrown.
Now the garden is flourishing, and Danni-ann has created her own work of art, with roses, chrysanthemums, and a multitude of flowers.
All of the materials for her dried flower bouquets are sourced from central Queensland.
"I found that you sort of get around with your blinkers on and once you start looking you can view so much, there's just so much in front of us," she said.
"I use a lot of things from the paddock - gum nuts, ti-tree, leopardwood and black wattle - there's so much out there.
"Doing a water run I often come back with loads."
Since she started, Danni-ann had sold bunches to Richmond, Townsville and Emerald, and now stocks some arrangements in the local Emporium store in Springsure.
"The next order I had was from the Capella School and that was 26 bunches, so I've definitely started to get into a bit of a rhythm with making them.
"I have an old Queenslander and there are planks in our lounge room and I've got brown string going right across with flowers hanging to dry.
"The husband's like, 'are you kidding me, I have to duck my head to get into our lounge room these days."
Danni-ann is learning as she goes and has enjoyed incorporating different grasses and trees into her arrangements.
"A lot of stuff I get from tableland country, it's not always about having buffel country," she jokes.
"I feel like with changing seasons it's important to make use of what's in front of us, and to celebrate the country ladies' backyard.
"With weeds, I always check that whatever I collect is not going spread where it shouldn't, and make sure I'm keeping up to date with current biosecurity."
Between raising kids, managing 1500 head of cattle, and running their own separate cattle business, Danni-ann admits that she probably won't be opening a florist shop anytime soon.
"I would eventually love to see Dry Design in cafes, and supporting our local races with bunches for Fashions on the Field," she said.
"I am also keen to have a go at decorating a fascinator and corsages for formals as well."
Danni-ann credits her mother Judy, and local gardening guru Betty Taylor for all the knowledge over the years, and for allowing her to have access to their own backyards, which have helped her grow Dry Design into what it is today.
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