Commercial rose grower John van Delft, of Mosgiel, displays
bunches of his signature rose, Black Magic, before sending
them to the Dunedin flower market in time for for
Valentine's Day. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Black Magic is in demand, as sweethearts prepare to cast
spells over loved ones this Valentine's Day.
Mosgiel grower John van Delft has bunched the last of his
signature Black Magic rose stems, filling orders by florists
and businesses Otago-wide in time for the big day tomorrow.
He began cutting stems from his 100,000 roses last week, and
has been supplying retailers through Dunedin's daily flower
Mr van Delft, who also owns and operates two florist shops
with his wife Mary, said Valentine's Day was over before it
began for those in the flower industry.
''It's pretty much over as far as we're concerned. All the
Valentine's Day orders have gone out, because the florists
need time to get them ready.''
He started preparing Valentine's Day roses at Christmas, but
said the lack of warmth and sunshine since then had delayed
Although roses were grown inside greenhouses, no amount of
artificial heat could compensate for the absence of sunshine.
''We would have had more roses to sell if they had come on
earlier. The colder weather has delayed them by up to two
Cutting stems started last week, to be bunched and chilled
before being sent to the flower market.
Because they were grown locally and delivered while still
fresh, they should last up to two weeks, Mr van Delft said.
The main grower south of Christchurch, he said the market was
increasingly being supplied by roses from India.
Flower Growers Association chairman David Blewden said only
about half the 600,000 rose stems bought nationwide for
Valentine's Day were grown in New Zealand, with the rest
imported from India.
''Import volumes are growing each year because stems are
mass-produced overseas very cheaply, putting our local
industry under severe pressure. Unfortunately, consumers
don't know that most of the roses they buy are imports,'' he
About 12 million rose stems are grown commercially in New
Zealand each year, with about 3 million imported.