We (Dany, Johanna and our 1yo daughter Ani) are growing oil-bearing roses in the Bulgarian Rose Valley. We researched the idea of planting roses in Bulgaria since Dany inherited several hectares of land located in the Bulgarian Rose Valley from his grandmother.
Growing up in a city, I always dreamed of having a garden one day - Now, I find myself working away on our rose fields in the Bulgarian Rose Valley carrying on the ancestral tradition of growing Rosa damascena for rose oil production.
Having studied chemistry, I am always interested in the ingredients of cosmetics and their impact on our health and the environment. For us it was never a question not to produce organically and only use absolutely natural ingredients.
Our goal is to create fields of roses in the Rose Valley that we can be proud of. We aim to produce as sustainable and organic as possible. In sharing our experiences we hope to bring new light to the tradition and beauty of the Bulgarian Rose Valley. We welcome everyone to join us in our quest whether for a glimpse or a memorable picking-season.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The rose harvest is a unique tradition in the Bulgarian Rose Valley. In our small town there are many families owning a rose field that has been in the family for years. During rose harvest everyone is out on the fields and picks fresh pink roses that are produced into essential oil the same day. We are growing our roses purely organic and can share our experience with rose organic cultivation.
During May and June the rose harvest takes place. This is our busiest time of the year and we like to share this special time with Workawayers , so we might be up to 10 people here.
We usually have between 3 and 6 Workawayers at a time and share all our meals together. There is no set structure to follow as far as the help is concerned, you are free to decide how much you would like to participate, so in that sense it is about us sharing what we have with people who have similar interests.
The harvest does take place early in the morning. Depending on the time in the season we would get up between 4-5 am and after a very quick tea/snack be on the fields by 5/6 am. Then again it depends on the yield of the day whether it's a short day of rose picking or a longer one. Could be anywhere between 8 am and 11 am. If you are not a morning person or really have difficulties getting up this early this is probably not the right place for you.
When we get back from the fields we need to prepare the sacks for pick up ( i.e. weight and label) and will have a joint breakfast or lunch depending on the time.
Then everyone usually appreciates some time to shower, rest and relax. There is a lake nearby suitable for boating or swimming. We also have two mountain bikes available for exploring the area around.
Some days we head to the fields in the afternoon for a couple of hours of maintenance work (weeding etc) or do a few smaller projects in the garden or around the house.
The overall working time is in average 4-5 hours a day (not including helping with the preparation of meals or dishes etc). There might be a day with a couple of hours less and then some other busy day with 1-2 hours more.
In the mornings it's usually a bit chilly and gets warmer as soon as the sun gets up around 6-7 am.
As we have to get up so early during the harvest, we usually go to bed around 8-9 pm.
May usually can have some rain falls and even without the rain the fields are wet in the morning due to morning dew, so proper rain gear is essential to keep dry and happy :-) We do have a range of rubber boots so as long as you have a good rain coat and pants that should be enough.
During other months of the year, there is always the garden to work on or maintaining the rose fields (pruning, tilling...).
We are also constantly trying to make our place a better home by repairing existing structures and refurbishing the place. Everywhere you look there is a new project around the corner, so anyone with carpentry, general building skills is highly appreciated.
In your free time you can explore the surrounding nature (we have two mountain bikes, swimming in the lake nearby, fishing...), relax or visit cultural places nearby.
Keep in mind that we are in a very rural area with limited public transport so if you are planning to explore more around and visit other cities while here you this might be more difficult to organize.
Our place is very basic as we recently bought this old place and dream of reconstructing it (one day). We only have one bedroom right now and a small hot shower bathroom. The toilet is an outhouse in the back of the garden. Volunteers camp in our garden (we can provide tents, mattresses and sleeping bags) and share meals with us. Sharing meals means that we will prepare and cook together and also share the work of cleaning up afterwards. We cook in our outdoor kitchen and generally spend most of the time outdoors.
We are located 20 km north from Nova Zagora and 50 km from Stara Zagora. There is a daily bus from Stara Zagora to here, Panicherevo, leaving Stara Zagora at 3 pm.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day 5 days a week