Of course with the whole season and hemisphere thing, Mothers Day means different things all over the globe in terms of seasonally grown flowers. While they harvest in the Spring up north, we’re planting bulbs and tucking up for Winter down south.
I was recently asked to give an overview of Mothers Day activities in Australia in relation to field grown flowers. Floret Flowers in Washington, US was putting together a snapshot of what’s happening across many parts of the world. Check out the Floret round up.
So as the farms in North America fill with Spring colour, there are a plethora of workshops, on-farm experiences and ‘build your own bouquet bars’ happening all over.
While for Mothers Day down under it’s all about the moody tones of Autumn. It’s the last of hydies, dahlias, zinnias and roses. Proteas are in bloom and loads of other native goodies; Autumn foliage, berries, nuts, kale and of course chrysanthemums, with the large billowy disbuds enjoying a well deserved resurgence. (Sounds like many flower farmers are trialling small batches of old world chrysanthemums this year, and will plant up big for next year, cannot wait for that!)
But in terms of field grown flowers, our Mothers Day sees flower farmers getting ready for the dormancy of Winter. Seeds and tubers have been planted and bulbs are going in. There are some workshops here and there and farms in the warmer parts of the Australia might have a few more blooms around, but on the whole we are in wind down mode.
It was a good exercise to understand more about what happens at a certain point in time, and get an insight into life on a flower farm and just how hard these guys work.
As a quick aside, it also got me thinking about the origins of Mothers Day and who set the date..
The history of Mothers Day is fascinating and has beginnings as an antiwar movement..
The date was set in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson but it is Anna Jarvis who is most often credited with founding Mother’s Day in the United States. National Geographic has a good article on the history if you’re interested. Click here.
So as we’ve established, the date falls in a completely different season down here. I mean it’s not totally like ‘dreaming of a white Christmas’ while sun-baking but just like we have adapted our Christmas menus to summer berry puddings instead of plum, perhaps there’s a case to adapt our flower traditions and connect to our season for Mothers Day.
I’m thinking bulbs…giving bulbs, planting bulbs..
Maybe we could start a thing down under, literally.
Growing your own has certainly become more of a thing over recent years and we owe a lot to what Erin and her team at Floret Flowers do. Erin’s book ‘Cut Flower Garden’ came out in 2017 and sold out several times. With her stunning visuals and clear step by step instructions, Erin has inspired so many to grow their own cut flower garden, no matter how much land is in play.
The time to plant bulbs is one very specific thing that completely coincides with Mothers Day in the temperate climates of Australia – in fact you don’t want to be planting them much later than the second weekend in May with the soil getting too cold after this.
A gift of bulbs puts you completely in touch with the season and is a gift that keeps on giving – the green shoots of early growth in the depths of Winter and the many blooms that arrive in Spring can be equally mesmerising and breathtaking.
We absolutely love the idea of giving bulbs. Whether it be to start someone’s garden off, or be an addition to the most established of them, giving a bulb has a bit of synchronicity about it. Such a cool thing to do with your mum, or someone who means a lot to you, in memory of someone special, or a simple gesture for yourself.
So to kick off this idea, we are so very excited to have a Cut Flower Garden Book donated by the Floret team and also a bag of the most incredible bulbs from Rose and Abraham Flower Co – which will give the lucky winner arm loads of tulips come September. See here for more GIVEAWAY details…
Also .. we (The Flower Press) and Little Twig Flowers will be at a pop up market in the city with some beautifully wrapped bulbs from Rose and Abraham Flower Co and Mannerim Stables for the Melb Market Co at Goldsborough Lane on Friday 9 May 9am – 2pm.
Here’s a round up of what’s happening on a few flower farms around Australia……
“I’ll be picking arm loads of zinnias, celosia, gomphrena, rudbeckia and dahlias still and planting out all the Spring babies like mad and getting them in their low tunnels ready for winter.”
“For Mothers Day Little Triffids will be doing mothers day gift bouquets using lots of dried goodies as well as seasonal chrysanthemums.” Sophie Little Triffids Flower Farm
“We are starting to cut back perennials and prepare beds for spring plantings. This involves removing old plantings and spreading manures and mulch. Seeds have been sown and they are germinating, bulbs and corms are being planted.
“We don’t do anything special for Mothers Day with our flowers as they are in limited supply. If my daughter is home I always get treated to a lovely compilation of whatever is looking good in the garden!” Helen of Riverdale Farm in Albany, WA
“Planting tulips, trees and shrubs, sowing hardy annuals, harvesting first crop of chrysanthemums, ordering and cleaning up to put the farm to bed for winter.”
Janae from Fleur de Lyonville in the Daylesford Macedon Ranges, VIC
“I will be dividing and planting new peony varieties as well as prepping new beds (measuring, breaking ground, working in fertiliser, setting up irrigation) and getting set up for future crops as we expand what we grow and offer to the public for future seasons.”
Lorelie Merton near Ballarat, western VIC
“We will have some beautiful Protea, Repens, Little Prince, Pink Ice, Safari Sunset, Discolour and Inca Gold Leucadendron and we will have our Protea Pots and A Little Something re-purposed jars …. “
Dawn from Peninsula Wild Flower, Red Hill, VIC
Peninsula Wild Flower is holding two workshops on the 11th – Posy Making with Dorothy our gorgeous vintage truck at Jetty Road Brewery with lunch and bubbles and a Posy Making Workshop at The Green Olive at Red Hill followed by Farmers Lunch “. Check their website for details
“The Wildwood garden is erupting in Dahlias. It is peak season. So I am busy every day cutting an abundance of flowers, trimming, deadheading, tieing, weeding, adding compost tea and home made organic anti-fungal sprays to leaves.”
Holly from Wildwood Flowers near Byron Bay
Also on are late season Zinneas, Amaranth, Roses, Basil, Geranium, Salvia and some foliage and tropicals. For Mothers Day I will be offering beautiful abundant garden arrangements of Dahlias and herbs which I deliver around Byron shire.
So while the flower farmers around the country continue to quietly toil away in preparation for a spring full of blooms, why not plant a bulb or two? Whilst we get so much pleasure from the end product, being part of the whole journey from bulb to bloom is pretty amazing.
Please leave a comment, would love to know your thoughts!