7 May 2024

Boom in blooms as the language of flowers sends loving messages this Mother's Day

| Vanessa Hayden
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woman holding flowers at farm gate

Florists like Jindera’s Rachel Proctor will be in the midst of one of their busiest weeks of the year as they create stunning floral arrangements for Mother’s Day. Photos: Supplied.

It’s the busiest week of the year for the region’s florists, who will be creating hundreds of bouquets of beautiful flowers in recognition of love and appreciation of mums all over the Riverina this Sunday.

The tradition stems back to the 1920s in Australia, earlier in the US, and in ancient times was said to celebrate goddess Rhea, considered the Mother of Gods. In Christianity, Mothering Sunday has been featured on the calendar since the 16th century.

Regardless of its origins, Mother’s Day presents an opportunity to pay mum a little bit of extra attention and let the flowers do the talking.

“Flowers are a beautiful present and they can speak volumes,” said Flower Mill Jindera’s Rachel Proctor.

“Sometimes when you haven’t got the words to say what you want to say, you can let the flowers speak your feelings.

”Even if it’s sympathy or thank you, if you don’t have the words of gratitude or condolence, the flowers can do the job for you.”

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Rachel said people had a great deal of choice when choosing flowers for their mums, but a budget of $80 to $100 was generally the minimum if buying from a qualified florist.

“Chrysanthemums are what everyone wants in their bouquets, year after year,” she said.

”I’m not sure why they are the signature flower. I think it perhaps has something to do with the word ending in ‘mum’ and it probably started out as a marketing gimmick.

“In the language of flowers, they are also said to carry a symbolic meaning of love, loyalty and joy.

“There is no doubt they are a stunning flower but along with chryssies, flowers such as roses, celosia, lisianthus, lilies, gladioli and a range of natives such as proteas, banksias, luecadendrons and billy buttons are popular in Mother’s Day bouquets, jars and boxes.”

For florists such as Rachel, it’s the last big hurrah of the flower season. With wedding season now over and other celebrations like Valentine’s Day and Anzac Day passed, it will be a quiet time before things kick off again in September.

“I love Mother’s Day, it’s busier than Valentine’s and better because you don’t have to de-thorn all day and deal with the summer heat,” she said.

”The weather is much better and it’s not just about the roses, it’s about a variety of flowers in the arrangements.”

florist in her studio

Rachel in her Flower Mill studio. She loves the variety of blooms that are used to create Mother’s Day bouquets.

Rachel said part of the challenge was knowing how many flowers to pre-order to ensure all orders were met. And like many in small business, she expects this year will be even trickier due to higher prices in everyday living.

“Generally, most people are happy to spend $100 on a bouquet on Mother’s Day but that is a lot of money these days as interest rates have gone up, groceries are more expensive and the cost of living in general is more of a burden,” she said.

“Wholesale flowers are getting dearer too.

“I still have requests for people looking for $30 or $40 bouquets, but unfortunately, a florist will struggle to make ends meet with that amount so you are better off buying from a store or supermarket if that is your budget.”

She said the beauty of ordering a curated bunch of flowers was that customers could specify exactly what they wanted in the arrangement.

“I’ve ordered a huge variety of flowers and it’s always a bit of a gamble because if I have too many leftovers, I’ll be out of pocket and if I run out, the locals won’t be happy!”

Her pop-up store at the old School of Arts Hall in the centre of Jindera would be taking orders from Thursday at 9 am through to Sunday lunchtime (stock depending).

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She said her favourite part of the Mother’s Day weekend was the deliveries and she expected to make at least 100 stops around Jindera, Burrumbuttock, Walla Walla, Table Top, Glenellen and Gerogery throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s the nicest part for me. I love delivering to my regulars who order every year. It’s the end result of all the work and it’s great I get to see it.

“Sometimes I feel like the Esmay Watson of the town because I know where everyone lives!” she laughs.

The tradition of giving gifts to mothers on Mother’s Day in Australia is said to have been started by Janet Heyden, of Sydney, in 1924.

Mrs Heyden began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. To cheer them up, she rounded up support from local schoolchildren and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women.

Every year thereafter, Mrs Heyden raised increasing support for the project from local businesses and even the local mayor. The day has since become commercialised.

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