NZ Flowers Week assignment highlight for florist

Linda McKenzie at work in her Mornington florist shop. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Linda McKenzie at work in her Mornington florist shop. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Being asked to create an installation for New Zealand Flowers Week has been a career highlight for Dunedin florist Linda McKenzie.

Ms McKenzie, of Mornington-based Fallow and Fox, was one of five florists selected nationwide and charged with creating a design reflective of the event's theme, The Power of Flowers.

Each florist was assigned an emotion that fed into the theme's concept. She was given gratitude and thankfulness.

Those emotions were represented by flowers such as roses, sweet peas and poppies and a colour palette of whites, creams, soft pinks and blush.

Taking part in the event was an ``amazing opportunity'' and she felt very fortunate to be asked, she said.

Ms McKenzie, who moved from Auckland to Dunedin about 14 years ago, saw a need for flowers at an affordable price.

In between floristry work, she was a social worker but she eventually returned to her love of all things floral.

"Flowers are just so beautiful, they are just so gorgeous. Everybody loves flowers. The feeling you get when you're selling flowers, making someone's day, is just an unbelievably lovely job,'' she said.

It could also be a sad time for customers but the language of flowers was "universal'' and florists were there during good, bad and challenging times.

She preferred to source as locally as possible and direct from growers, and while a lot of flowers were sent down from the North Island, there were a growing number of flower farms ``popping up'' around Otago.

"New Zealand flowers are a really important aspect of our business. A lot of stuff is coming through from India and Colombia. We try and purchase New Zealand-grown all the time,'' she said.

Ms McKenzie's favourite flower was the peony and her business sold ``masses'' during peony season.

She received a consignment three times a week from a Central Otago grower and, last season, went through 3000 stems a week.

"They are only for such a short time and they are literally amazing,'' she said.

When it came to current trends, customers were looking for "boho, rustic, cottagey, being picked out of the meadow'' flowers.

Ms McKenzie was looking to expand Fallow and Fox next year while she was also enjoying slowly renovating the old school at Milburn, built in 1863, where she intended to grow foliage and flowers to support the business.

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