Story Kate O’Neill
Did you know, more than half of all cut flowers sold in Australia are imported? For roses, the figure could be closer to 90 per cent, according to a recent ABC report. Local grower, Briana Atkin of the Duranbah vegetable and flower farm, Jumping Red Ant, says she finds it really sad. ‘The quality of our local flowers is so much better’.
The good news is, like our food, there’s a shift happening in the flower industry towards local and sustainable.
Currently the demand for local cut flowers at the farmers markets has been particularly strong says Briana. ‘People are keen to support local business, as well as bringing some beauty into their lives during a tough time. Flowers make people happy. Customers also appreciate the longevity of local flowers. People come up to me and say “I’ve still got your roses – they’ve been there for three weeks!”.’
As we head into spring it’s boom time for local blooms, and Briana is really excited about a new selection of striking proteas – South African and Australian natives – that will be on the stall at New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers Markets.
‘We planted in 2017 – they take two to three years to start flowering, and now the first generation are just starting to come out in full force.’
Also coming up on the stall is a flush of spring roses ‘They’ve just been cut back so they’re fresh from new bushes. They’re at their best at this time of year. The head size is huge, and the cooler weather means the colour is popping.’
Other varieties on the stall in spring will be ranunculus, which come in a stunning palette of bold and vivid colours, anemones and pretty, delicate straw flowers. ‘The stall is going to look amazing.’