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Looking around the gardens of Melbourne, you would be forgiven for thinking that there is not much floral variety on offer. However given the global supply of fresh flowers, your local florist has lots of colours and variety to play with. While some of the flowers accessible in Melbourne during winter are grown overseas and flown to Australia, local suppliers are able to produce some traditional favourites.
In the hills of the Dandenongs, growers produce flowers such as gerberas, kale (ornamental cabbage), snapdragons and various types of lush green foliage (including camellia, laurel, ivy-berry & magnolia). Gerberas are available in lots of bright colours and are a staple in every florist shop.
Toward the middle to the end of winter, Cymbidium orchids grown in New Zealand begin to arrive on our shores. These orchids are renowned for their longevity, with flower spikes lasting several months. The available colours and complexity of the cymbidium flowers make them very popular for displaying either on their own or as a highlight in a mixed flowers arrangement.
Nowadays, roses are imported into Melbourne from growers located in Africa & South America. The roses produced in South America have larger heads than locally grown roses, but the leaves are not as lush. African rose growers produce medium head size roses with better foliage than the South American roses.
Orchids thrive in the conditions found in the tropical climate countries of South-East Asia. Singapore orchids are available in many bright colours and are approximately 30cm in length. This variety can last up to 2-3 weeks as a cut flower. Longer stemmed orchids such as James Story are available in red or yellow. The spectacular Dancing Lady orchids are available in bright yellow and create a stunning presentation when arranged in a vase all by themselves.
There are many types of chrysanthemums imported into Australia from Malaysia. Chrissies are available in most colours for the glasshouse variety (this variety has lots of smaller flowers per stem) or for the disbud variety, the available colours are predominantly shades of green, white or yellow (disbuds have one large flower at the top of each stem).
During the cooler months, local producers are busy harvesting flowers grown in their hot-houses. Such flowers include Christmas lilies and Tiger lilies, the ever popular earlicheer jonquils, with their magnificent sweet perfume and some Oriental lilies. Outdoors, local farmers are harvesting some native flowers like pink-ice proteas. Later in winter the red-hot pokers will be available.