Spring into Full Bloom – Local Florists and Farmers
Colourful and fragrant flowers have the power to brighten our lives and bring a sense of hope and happiness, writes Helen Flanagan who caught up with a bunch of farmers and florists.
It’s phenomenal how Aussies have turned to flowers and beautiful foliage to brighten homes, elevate moods, and support friends and local businesses.
Think spring and perfumed jasmine, lavender, sweet pea and classic roses, earthy-toned fresh and dried foliage such as ginger, camellia, gum and magnolia leaves intertwined with banksias, phalaenopsis, snapdragons, peonies, tulips, and when it comes to brightest blooms with the biggest ‘smiles’, gerberas are the stars.
Near the entrance of the shed store at Rosemount Flowers, a steady stream of loyal gerbera-lovers say hello to kelpie-cross Pepper and Shadow, then umm and ahh amongst the ravishing array of blooms with long stems and vibrant double and semi-double petals in hot and pale pink, yellow, orange, red, white and more, picked that morning.
Established in 2001, Andrew and Cindy Borthwick, and his 83-year-old mum Anne have 10,000 potted plants, watered hydroponically six times per day and grown in semi-shade houses where they flourish in the sub-tropical sun yet are protected from heavy downpours.
Hidden away in Eudlo, amongst natural bushland, expect the unexpected. No rows, more the secret gardens of Organica Floret with terraces woven with an abundance of rose bushes, interspersed with nasturtiums, marigolds, lavender, geraniums and herbs, all a natural magnet for busy bees.
Effervescent Caz Owens, proudly the first rose, herb and edible flower farm in Australia certified as chemical-free, says “being earth and field grown, our flowers are as nature intended, thus slowly creating stunningly fragrant roses in delectable white, cream, pinks, crimson and variegated, also tasty edible flowers.
“Heritage roses are distinctive. Instead of rigid blossoms on long stems, these are magnificent full blooms with elegant symmetrically-perfect layers, edible and gorgeous for bouquets and cakes, unlike other roses especially from overseas, which are shrouded in toxins.”
Whilst full rose blooms and petals are adored by florists and cake decorators, James Wan the director of Aquaman, when filming on the Gold Coast preferred chemical-free rose blooms. After several visits to Organica Floret by a crew member in a limousine to pick up blooms, Caz picked the final bunch for an unknown actor who had a pivotal role which included digesting rose petals. It turned out to be Amber Heard, and the rest as they say is history.
Edible flowers are favoured by chefs as garnishes, sprinkled on desserts and tossed through salads, and amongst the whimsy in Caz’s workshop are bottles of rose liquid and jars of assorted dried garden magic. Packets such as miniature edible roses, cosmos and marigold, cranberry, hibiscus and red rose, also botanical crush; a mix of edible flowers and rose petals that are regularly sent nationwide and overseas. The latter, also available with edible glitter, is a fave rim-trim for fancy cocktails.
When it comes to romantic couplings Eumundi Roses and Dance Ballroom Latin Swing tug the heart strings.
Graeme Etheridge, who learned the skills of growing flowers from his mother and grandfather, a professional gardener in England, has been growing flowers for local florists and wholesalers for almost 20 years, initially at Tuchekoi with wife Annette, and more recently in Eumundi.
“Eumundi Roses started selling flowers one weekend,” recalled daughter Lyn Bayfield, who is trained in art and design and joined the business with husband Barry. “The flowers were bunched into little posies which people said looked like bridal bouquets. The orders started rolling in and continue today.
“David Austin, vintage, Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, climbers, standards, weepers and cut flower roses are my favourites. White is the current trend and stock runs out faster than we can blink. The bunches haven’t changed much. Weddings may be fewer, but people are sending beautiful big gift bunches to family and friends far afield. Each bouquet has a unique personality and is created with love.
“Combining music and flowers is easy,” said Lyn referring to the family’s Dance Ballroom Latin and Swing, classes and private tuition to suit personal needs, also schools and community groups. “They are both an amazing part of nature; a place to lose the troubles of the world and feel free of life’s burdens.”
As former US First Lady and conservationist Lady Bird Johnson said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” More than 50 years on this still resonates with florists reporting people embracing cut flowers like never before.
Have you seen the mural in the laneway next to Frenchie’s restaurant in Thomas Street? Chances are you’ve noticed the very inviting, peachy dusty pinks of Laneway Flowers & Coffee owned by florist Deborah Phillips, who believes in Australian-only flowers and foliage, straight from farm to vase.
A gorgeous earthy colour palette, single varieties of flowers en masse also dried/everlasting flowers and foliage remain trendy, and she likes to incorporate dried flowers with fresh, so the memory stays for longer. Think banksia, palm spear and some bunny tails mixed with beautiful fresh roses, snapdragons and gum leaves.
Her absolute favourite spring blooms are colourful Ranunculus, Poppies and O’Hara Roses from Palmwoods with large heads of beautiful creamy white petals, soft pink/peach tones in the centre and divinely fragrant.
When it comes to arrangements for whatever the occasion or event, floral artisan Amelia McPherson, the owner of La Bouquet in the Pavilion at Noosa Junction creates living art.
Imagine highly sought-after peonies in soft pinks, a mass of white gladioli as a statement piece, and stunning orchids paired with a reflexed rose. Spring also brings fragrant jasmine, tulips, lavender, and the heavenly sweet pea.
Amelia says she has witnessed many romantic moments such as proposals but none greater than the elderly gentleman who visits the store once a month after his haircut. “He spends 30-minutes fulfilling his love and passion for beautiful flowers then purchases one rose ensuring there’s change for the grandkids.”
Sam Hopper, owner of Campbell and Bradley Flowers, says she is proud of her team of 12 talented florists who lovingly create and supply bouquets, fresh flowers, plants and gifts to stores such as IGAs in Pomona, Cooroy and Noosa as well as Milk Bar Grocer in Hastings St.
“We have cute little caddies that drive up and down the coast every day filling the stands with freshly picked blooms. We buy direct from growers, locally as much as possible, wrap ready for gifting without being overly fussy and only have the very best quality at the best price. We are not a huge production facility, and everything is carefully handled.”
Classics continue to transcend trends, with foliage such as eucalyptus gum and olive branches tying in with interior trends. Tonal bouquets are in style and in spring look out for bright beautiful pops of colour and sweet perfume. Straight-cut bunches are always popular, simplicity is key although big bold bunches of a single variety are statement pieces for the home.
Flowers make people happy,” says Sam “and we are fortunate to be involved in such a feel-good industry. Our heart strings are really pulled when dads bring in their young kids to pick out a special bunch of flowers for someone important in their lives.
“It’s touching and gratifying bringing joy to people’s lives.”