Plenty of blooms despite weather

FRANCESCA LEE AND GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 07/02/2013
Lynne Ritchie
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

SOURCING SUPPLIES: Christchurch florist Lynne Ritchie, of Bourbon Rose in Riccarton Rd, says hail and snow last winter has contributed to a flower shortage in the city.

Gerald Davies
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
FLORAL FIESTA: General manager of Moffatt's Flower Company, Gerald Davies, with hundreds of roses ready for Valentines Day.

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Christchurch is still the Garden City despite hail, snow and earthquakes taking their toll on its flowers.

Florists expect floral stocks to be in full bloom for this month's annual Festival of Flowers in the Botanic Gardens.

Moffatt's Flower Company general manager Gerald Davies said Christchurch's flower-growing industry was still strong despite more than two years of challenges.

"I haven't seen a change in volumes coming through. This year there was a shortage of Christmas lilies and that's because of hail damage," he said.

Halswell-based Moffatt's has been "through pretty interesting times" over the past three years, starting when a fire destroyed its boiler rooms.

The September 2010 quake left about 25 per cent of the 20,000-square-metre property damaged beyond repair, and the February 2011 quake caused even more damage.

Davies said the company was back at full capacity "just in time for Valentines Day".

Lynne Ritchie, owner of flower shop Bourbon Rose, said hail and snow last winter damaged plants before they had a chance to flower.

"Flower prices have stayed up. The weather has probably made flowers more expensive through this whole season," she said.

"There were lots of lilies before Christmas but they have been in shorter supply lately. Peonies were in very short supply this year and they weren't of good crop."

Almost all of the flowers in Ritchie's shop are sourced from Christchurch suppliers.

Jenny Burtt Florist manager Debra Kinnaird said the quakes meant there were fewer greenhouses in the city supplying flowers, but there was still a large variety of blooms to choose from.

"We are still the flower city. For what we have been through we have a great variety of beautiful flowers. Christchurch does roses and freesias the best," she said.

Christchurch Garden City Trust manager Devi Benson, who is helping to co-ordinate the 24th annual Festival of Flowers, said supplies were not an issue despite the festival falling just two days after Valentines Day.

The festival will open at the Botanic Gardens' archery lawn on February 16.

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- The Press

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