Last couple of weeks of 2020 and I am sure we are all looking forward to a new year and new adventures. This year has been challenging in many ways for many people and it had its mark on the floral industry.
For starters, our customer base shrunk with less people being able to afford flowers just as a treat, florists had less orders for their day to day operations and of course the big ticket items like weddings were off the cards for a while, and even though they are back now, people seem to go for smaller weddings on a budget with minimal amount spend on flowers. But it is not all doom and gloom! I must say we also had some opportunities open to us as flower farmers. For Alpine Blooms farm, level 4 lockdown was just at the right time for us as we were forced to rethink our strategy for 2020/2021 summer season. Instead of being in the race to plant as much as possible and to produce as much as possible to keep up with demand, we stopped and slowed down. Only planted things that we like and that were productive last season, put a lot of time and effort into improving our soils and invested in perennials. Slowing down allowed us to really think about the operation of the farm and how we would like to be seen and what sort of clients we would like to work with instead of trying to please everyone. We focused on DIY brides that are searching for a provider of flowers that can supply a bit of everything and they do their magic on the day. We keep working with local florists and enjoy new connections with florists around the region but I must say florists went from being the biggest orderers to orders that are only done every now and then, which is absolutely fine. And finally, we have our stall, people of Wanaka and Hawea are amazing at supporting us and buying fresh flowers from the stall. We restock it every 2 days and will be offering bouquets for special occasions like Christmas and Valentine’s day and Mother’s Day. On all other days we will have a selection of Blooms for people to come and make their own bouquet. So 2020 actually brought a bit of stability to our farm and instead of raising and trying to pick and deliver flowers all day every day we actually had time to weed and get the place tidy and organised with some income still coming in and matching or exceeding previous years income.
So, what are we looking forward in 2021? Well there are a lot of things happening on the farm as well as in our private life. Let us just say I will not be working full time from May 2020 and therefore can spend a lot more time on the farm and investing a bit more energy into it! Can’t wait to plant tulips in autumn and see the abundance in spring as well as finally sorting out a few more rows for the vege patch (you might have noticed a random cabbage popping in our stall, they are grown organically and are a trial run for a bigger vege patch next year). We are not going to become full time vege gardeners, but I would like to offer produce to our customers as well as topping up our vege draw in the fridge. I am also looking forward to expanding my Lily patch, a little bit more. Unfortunately lilies are very expensive to buy and therefore extremely hard to buy in bulk and plant in bulk, so we are just buying a few more each year and this year I have definitely enjoyed the abundance of these beauties, even though my partner has the worst allergy to them so they never make it inside our house. And finally, I am looking forward to seeing how I go with Dahlias in 2021. We have planted a few varieties as tubers and others by seed. A full row of Dahlias is on its way to flowering and I am very excited to see what the seeds going to bring to us. They are not my favourite flowers but somehow, they are very popular with everyone else and therefore I finally caved in and planted a row to see how I go.
We are going to take it easy in 2021, just like we did this year and enjoy building up the business and clientele as well as building up the collection of bulbs and perennials for years to come. And the main thing we are going to do is provide fresh blooms to our customers. Slow, seasonal flowers with lots of love put in them is our motto and we will keep delivering.
Merry Christmas to all our clients and customers and we cannot wait to supply you blooms in the New Year. Enjoy your breaks if you are having any and if you do not (like all our farmers) enjoy the sun and time with the family. It is always very nice to reminiscent on these sunny days during good old Wanaka inversion in winter.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our small team at Alpine Blooms farm.