The Rose - From Grower to Bouquet
Have you ever considered what it takes to get 12 stunning red Roses? Most people I think take it as a given that when the occasion arises, & they would like to send some Roses, all they need to do is contact their favourite florist & voila! But where do those lovely Roses come from? In New Zealand florists have a few options when purchasing flowers. A) They can buy from the auction 3 times a week. B) They can buy from a Wholesaler 5 days a week. C) They can purchase direct from some growers. Most of us will do a combination of all 3 options to get the best available product & prices. New Zealand is a fairly small country & there are probably less than 10 Rose growers here producing high volumes of flowers all year round. So you can probably imagine how at certain times of the year when the demand is high, such as Valentine's Day, that they really struggle to meet that demand. I won't go into the process of selecting varieties, growing trial crops (not all of these prove successful) or production costs here as it is far too involved, I'll just start with the fact that Roses bloom in 6-8 week cycles. Which is why growers will prune their crops back hard at Christmas time so that they will be in full flush around the 14th February. Not every bloom produced is perfect so they are graded for length, straightness of stem & flower quality before being sent to the market or wholesaler for sale. In New Zealand Roses come in bunches of 10 stems. So we have to buy at least 2 bunches to make up a dozen. Wholesalers will sell single bunches & will often have better deals for multiple purchases. They also have a selection of Roses imported from Colombia & India in stock. The Colombian Roses are massive & quite expensive. The Indian Roses tend to be smaller & a lot cheaper. The flower market runs an auction 3 mornings a week & the buyers must bid for product. There are 2 auctions running at the same time so we have to be extremely awake at 5.30 AM! The price starts high & as it comes down the buyers stop the clock at the price they want to pay on a device much like an iPad. Roses are often sold in buckets of 5-10 bunches (50-100 stems). I personally get up at 4 AM if I'm going to the auction. Time to get up, dressed, drive to Mt Wellington, park, get a coffee (most important) & check out what's on the market floor before I start buying. There is now a cloud auction for florists throughout the country & many people bidding are doing so from the comfort of their homes, maybe even in their PJ's! But I'm old school. I like to see what I'm getting. Market days are very long days for florists. Especially if we have weddings. Buying directly from growers is something I do when I need absolutely perfect blooms & an exact number of any one colour. The growers usually charge a little more for this service than you might pay at the auction but it's worth it for the peace of mind. If you consider the cost of production, transportation & time spent on purchasing & making your bouquet, it's no wonder that Roses can cost a bit more. We all go to a great deal of effort to make your purchase possible.