Is there anything lovelier than the sight and the scent of a blue lotus? It’s a flower and a fragrance in one, and a grand idea for Valentine’s Day. From her stall, Byron Bay Blue Lotus, Liz Lualdi dispenses these glorious plants, which grow in her tea-tree lake at Tyagarah.
Indeed, since ancient times, the lotus has been used in the production of perfumes, and as I stood, chatting at the Ahana candle stall with Marianni’s daughter, Valentina, we were both simultaneously struck by a sublime scent we thought was the other’s perfume. It was in fact the blue lotus Marianni had as centrepiece to her lovely candles – candles which, moreover, are another Valentine’s Day suggestion, the gold or cream beeswax exuding their own particular scent of gentle honey.
Liz Lualdi also dries the flowers to make a fragrant herbal tea; a common practice in Korea and China. She dries out whole lotus flowerheads too, selling them for people to use as edible flowers over salads or to make their own tea. These teas, she tells me, have a calming effect, endorsed by the many return customers extolling the benefits. So there’s another gift idea!
More flowers can be found at Jumping Red Ant whose spectacular sunflowers stand proud alongside the prettiest roses in pink and red, orange and cream, and sprays of intricate orchids. Summit Organics sell mixed bunches if you can’t decide on a particular type; joyous assemblies of vibrance interspersed with fernery and greenery, as well as natives. At Glenyce Creighton’s stall she has artistic arrangements of fern fronds amidst natives, languid palm leaves, heliconias and bird-of-paradise.
Chocolates are another Valentine’s essential and Sarah Wheeler’s organic Puremelt selection includes her vegan Love Bites, heart-shaped mouthfuls of chewy, nutty indulgence. Flowers, candles, chocolates – there’s Valentine’s Day organised!
Byron Bay Blue Lotus, Ahana Candles, Puremelt Chocolate, Jumping Red Ant, Summit Organics and Glenyce Creighton are all at Mullumbimby Farmers Market – every Friday from 7–11am.
Summit Organics, Jumping Red Ant and Glenyce Creighton are also at New Brighton Farmers Market, every Tuesday from 8–11am.