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'Most Is Thrown Away': How To Stop Flowers Going To Waste This Mother's Day

There are few industries the coronavirus has left untouched and for florists, the way they work has completely changed.

At the beginning of March, Sydney-based florist Sophie Geisser was getting ready for weekends full of weddings, bringing to life the flower filled dreams of the couples who had hired her for their events.

"We now have a lot of free time! We had a wedding or event booked most weeks from March through to September and they have either been postponed or reschedule," the owner of Sydney-based business Eden and Bell told 10 daily.

"It's hard because there is so much uncertainty and we feel a sense of responsibility to not just our clients but also the amazing growers we work with."

Aside from providing beautiful flowers, Sophie prides herself on making the months leading up to her client's wedding as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

"It's so hard to have no guarantees for a bride who has been looking forward to this day her entire life," she said.

Oh and our amazing growers, gosh. They still have to pick the flowers, thousands and thousands of them, and I just wish I could buy them in the quantities we use to.

The impact COVID-19 have made on the flower industry has a flow on impact. Aside from florists not being able to sell them to clients in the volumes they used to, the local growers who pick and provide these flowers are left with an oversupply they're now finding hard to move.

And of course the problem is flowers, like fresh fruit and vegetables, are perishable. Leading growers to be faced with the tough decision to throw away the flowers they have worked so hard to grow.

"I guess you have to be pretty tough to be a grower because when I chat with them about how they are doing they all have amazing attitudes and say they are fine and many others are experiencing worse situations; but they've just come through years of drought as well as the fires that devastated a lot of the farms," Sophie said.

"And after all the rain in February there was so much promise of finally having an amazing harvest, and for what? So they can pick it all and throw most of it away."

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Joe Oliveri from Oliveri Flowers on the NSW Central Coast said he was forced to throw away 50,000 gerberas at the end of March because moving into self isolation following government orders meant nobody would buy them.

"Those flowers have just gone straight in the compost," he told the ABC. Sophie added unfortunately, it's a pretty common story.

"They sow and plan for their flowers to be ready months and months before they are actually needed," she said.

"March and April are so popular for weddings and there is usually an abundance of local products. But with hardly anyone at the markets the last few months, I can't imagine how much has gone to waste."

It's a difficult situation that has forced florists to pivot in the way they work in an effort not only to support themselves, but help the local growers who supply them. As such it's made many florists, including Sophie, focus more heavily on home delivery as opposed to styling events.

"Our experience is that people are understandably craving the beauty of nature to refresh their soul and make them happy right now right now," Sophie said.

"It's just been hard for us because prior to the coronavirus, we didn’t have the resources or facilities set up to provide flower deliveries."

With the help of her husband Dom and some long nights, Sophie had her website setup for online shopping and 'kind of' figured out a system with deliveries between looking after her children while also being pregnant.

"To be honest, it’s hard to start something new in the best of times and I have definitely found it really emotionally and physically draining to have to make so many changes in this crazy and unpredictable season," she said.

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But the feedback Sophie has received from her clients has been that they really just want to support local businesses during this trying time.

"I mean it's not just us, but like I said the growers and everyone who works at the flower markets who are impacted when we buy or don't buy flowers," she said.

A lot of the customers who order have said they are so thankful to still have their job and they want to support those who are struggling -- we really live in such a wonderful country.

With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday 10 May, local florists are working hard to fulfill deliveries for lots of Australian mums, hoping the day will also bring some much needed relief to local businesses.

"The flowers you purchase are not just going to bring a smile to your mum's face but will motivate and bless florists, wholesalers, and growers alike," Sophie said.

"Every order we receive at the moment makes me feel just a little more energised and hopeful that all the hours and months and years of hard work we have given to get the business to this point have been worth it."

Featured image: Instagram

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