A group of our Certificate III students recently had the rare privilege of visiting local flower farms guided by both our Creative Director, Lynne Dallas, and Pearsons chief flower buyer and Director, Bernard Pollak. The Flower farms are not open to the public, so were are so grateful that they opened their barn doors to a group of students from Pearsons School of Floristry.
Understanding our product, from paddock to bouquet, is key to becoming a great florist. What better way to truly understand the flowers we use than to talk directly to the people who grow them. Better than that, to see them growing!
The students quickly discovered that it was one of the most worthwhile and enjoyable trips they had been on as part of their Certificate III program.
What did they learn? Here are the top 5 takeaways from the visit to the flower farms.
One: It is all about Seasons
It goes without saying that one of the biggest joys of being a florist is working with the most incredible blooms. And quite often a driving factor for choosing floristry as a career is the desire to connect with nature and the seasonality of what we do. Going to visit a grower reinforces an understanding of what is available when and how to plan and design seasonally and how the weather affects what grows and how.
Two: It was a lightbulb moment
Putting on gumboots and walking through fields of heavenly scented David Austin roses. Talking to the person who planted, nurtured and who picks them. The person who was able to tell you all the variety names, stem lengths and bunch sizes. What kind of designs they know that florists make with them, was a defining moment for many? That moment when they knew floristry and a life with flowers is for them
Three: For the connections
After 50 years of buying flowers through growers at Sydney markets, you would think he would know all there is to know about it. And yet Bernard regularly visits the flower growers. There is an invaluable bond between florist and grower that enables Pearsons to plan a product range around seasonality, availability, size, newness and much more. Really getting to know your growers means you are really getting the best product.
Four: It is about Fashion!
Floristry is a trend driven industry. What is hot and what is not changes as it does with fashion. However, planting a whole new crop does not happen overnight. Growers must sometimes take a chance based on their knowledge of industry trends, techniques, design styles and influences and colour preferences.
Five: To understand why
Each grower will have a different process and way of doing things. Quite often this has come from years of refining systems but also from talking to florists and finding out how they like to buy from bunch sizes to whether to wrap in cellophane or not. Understanding why growers do things in certain ways can help you make better choices.
A visit to the growers is a thoroughly educational event whether you are a new or experienced florist and real privilege to be part of.
In the ever changing, fast paced industry that we work in staying ahead with product knowledge is key. With a rise in consumer desire to know all about product provenance and environmental footprint, knowing what is grown in your local area, why and how adds more knowledge to your floral repertoire.
And above all else just knowing that at the heart of everything we do is an amazing fresh product that is grown by people on the land. People who have grown their farms along with their family’s generation after generation.
Flower growers are passionate and hardworking and without them there would be no flowers for us to sell and for that we say thank you!