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canvas throw pillow covers This florist fills her Lockwood home with blooms for Christmas sofa pillow covers

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Flowers fill every corner of this sweet Lockwood home in the Waikato. And rightly so, Milly owns flower farm Primm Gardens. See more of her family home below

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Milly Van Der Hoeven, 33 (farmer/florist at Primm Gardens), Paul Johnson, 32 (business development manager), Max, 12, Isla, 10canvas throw pillow covers, and Ruben, 7, plus dogs Honey and Rosie, cats Bella and Blackberry, and five chooks.

Flowers and gardening have been Milly’s passion for the past decade, since having children. She’s self-taught, in both floristry and growing flowers, so building Primm Gardens from scratch has been a hands-on endeavour. Milly’s had to studiously learn the right way to do things, discovering what plants do best in their soil type and climate and building on that knowledge year by year.

There are always challenges. With no hothouses, the weather can really make or break a ‘flush’ (the point at which all blossoms are open). Most of the plants Milly grows are fairly resilient, but too much of anything – heat, rain, wind – can be stressful and encourage bugs and disease. These risks are constant, with no two seasons the same. But it’s all worth it to Milly.

What will you be eating on Christmas Day?

My dad owns Magills Butchery in Te Awamutu, so we are spoilt for choice in the meat department. We’ll have roast leg of lamb, whole scotch fillet and glazed ham. Everyone brings their own specialty salad – Greek, Caesar and Caprese – and we have freshly dug spuds from the garden.

What will you be drinking?

Champagne with strawberries. We’re also big craft-beer fans, so there’s always a good supply of Garage Project brews on hand.

What do you do to style your home for the festive season?

Every year we each find a new decoration for the tree, so we have a decent collection now and a pretty unique-looking tree! Each decoration is so special to us because they each represent a time, place and memory for our family.

What’s your advice for using florals at Christmas?

Try your hand at some festive florals – a herb-filled wreath or a lush garland for the dinner table brings a beautiful, natural vibe to celebrations.

Scroll down to see more of how Milly keeps the Christmas spirit alive in her Pirongia home

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Working from home is wonderful and exhausting all at once, Milly says – but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Once the weather warms up, blooms come in flushes all at once and you have to be consistent with harvesting and maintenance.

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Milly describes her decorating style as eclectic, fun and family-friendly. “I don’t have any set style rules. Our home is a mix of everyone’s favourite things and colours. It’s a busy, creative and well-loved place to live.”

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“Flowers and herbs are a beautiful way to add colour, texture and fragrance to your table,” says Milly. The brass dragonflies, peacock candlestick, Champagne bucket, cloth and vases are all from H&;M Home. The ceramic leaves are from Shut The Front Door.

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The family’s Christmas tree is bedecked with handmade paper roses, ceramic decorations from Shut The Front Door?and a star garland from Misery Guts. A kilim from Two Foxes keeps things cosy on the black-washed concrete floor (which, says Milly, always attracts positive comments from visitors).

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View next gallery: Protea inspired homeware is on trend and we can’;t get enough of it View Gallery

Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Helen Bankers. Styling by: Tina Stephen.

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