Although not too hot at the beginning of the month, the record breaking hot weather of last week was a challenge for flower growers, florists and brides! 5 days close to 40 degrees tested the system. We were sponging down coolroom refrigeration units throughout the day and misting the radiators to keep the coolrooms running. With such high temperature differentials between inside the fridge and outside, the fridges were working really hard and it was stressful to ensure that they coped. We had very little losses considering the weather - we had some dahlias what were under the outlet inside the fridge that suffered because the fridge barely cut out and they were blasted with cold air for 12 hours! We had the lilies in the warmer coolroom (still only 7 degrees throughout the heat) that started to open in the fridge. On day of the weddings, we delivered early to ensure that we weren't travelling in the heat and sent out spray bottles with everything! Everything looked beautiful going out of the shop and I'm sure anyone looking at all the lovely roses, lisianthus and lilies had no idea of the time and stress that went into ensuring they arrived in good condition on the day!
As usual, this year the Christmas/New Year period saw some of our suppliers on holiday and we had to survive without the full range of flowers we normally have access to. The orchids were available all the way through the Christmas period this year, as were roses, lisianthus, gerberas and lilies.
I wouldn't mind if all weddings were just lisianthus in January! It is a good flower for the heat and while looking lovely and delicate, can tolerate higher temperatures and still look great. Lisianthus comes in a lovely colour range and our awesome grower has been giving us perfect blooms, with his strict post-harvest treatment routine resulting in lovely upright blooms, perfect flower, good clean foliage and flowers that last well despite the heat.
David Austin’s are still beautiful, and producing a lovely range. Our standard “hothouse” roses have also been good but the head size of our Sydney roses has been small having been adversely affected by the heat. Red roses and quite a few of the colours have been scarce since the beginning of the month as growers have cut back all their roses in preparation for Valentines Day. It’s something to keep in mind for anyone wanting red roses in January, as growers try and time the rose flush for mid February. I managed to find nice imports for some rose colours that were not available from the local growers.
Lilies (oriental, asiatics) have been plentiful at market. We are not recommending oriental lilies for wedding bouquet in January as oriental lilies do not like temperatures over 30 degrees. They are fine for table arrangements in air-conditioned function rooms. Asiatics are a bit better in the heat, although still not the best choice - lisianthus or orchids are a safer bet for a hot day.
Callas have been available during January, although there are fewer and fewer Australian growers, and the colour range has been limited. No more arums this January, marshmallow or otherwise.
Dahlias have been lovely, with beautiful whites looking lovely in the wedding bouquets. I think the heat must've knocked around the hydrangea as I have not seen any at market. Sunflowers have been nice. Birds of paradise were not available at the beginning of the month, but are around in the second half of January.
The gloriosa lily has also been available and beautiful. Although there has been plenty of hybrid delphinium, blue butterfly has been scarce making finding a true blue flower difficult over this time. Peonies are definately out.
We are getting babies breath and asters. Our chrysanthemum grower for the first time in 30 years lost his crop of chrysanthemums. We have managed to source from another grower but will be without our beautiful large bloomed polaris for a few weeks as his plants recover from the searing heat.
The kangaroo paw has been lovely and we are still getting king proteas, and a few different types of banksia. Red flowering gum has been magnificent, if expensive. Bruneii has been about the only green berry available, and imported hypericum is around.
Late addition - the constant hot weather has limited the availability of many field grown flowers - in particular, I have had trouble getting natives and lavender