If you are looking for a special cut flower you won’t find in any florist, or something unique for an occasion, your first stop should be Liz Lualdi’s Byron Bay Blue Lotus stall at Mullumbimby Farmers Market.
The aquatic flowers, cultivated at Liz’s farm in Tyagarah, are sold as cut flowers, live plants for water features, dried flowers for culinary uses, as well as blue lotus body products.
Liz is one of the very, very few blue lotus farmers in Australia, and becoming a lotus farmer was a happy accident. Once she had settled into her new property, she found the pristine tea tree lakes to be carpeted in beautiful blue lotus blooms. Initially selling these locally as cut flowers, Liz then grew the business and established a stall at the farmers’, markets in 2010, which she operates during the lotus season from September until June.
Blue lotus plants don’t grow like any other flowering plant; they have a root system at the bottom of the lake which has a spiral of buds reaching to the surface. The plants are dormant during the winter months but as soon as the spring temperature and light are just right, the flowers return. When a flower is picked the plant accelerates the next flower to come up to the surface. Liz’s blue lotuses are wild harvested with no interference at all.
Liz is hands-on at every stage of the business. ‘Being a part of the process from beginning to end is so rewarding. From taking care of the lake that they grow in, to paddling around on a surf ski harvesting the flowers, through to finishing the product, taking it to market and then handing it over and talking to the customers – we’re there every step of the way. I find it effortless to talk about the flowers and the cultivation and I love receiving feedback from our customers every week,’ she says.
And the most charming thing about the blue lotus? ‘The flowers close at night and open during the day, they move around a lot, pulling amazing manoeuvres, it’s really like having a little pet’.
During the lotus season Byron Bay Blue Lotus are at Mullumbimby Farmers Markets, Fridays 7–11am.