Think Winter isn’t a great time for flowers?
Think again. Winter has plenty of beauty to offer us, with lots of our most fragrant varieties available only during the cold months. From hardy stocks with their heady cinnamon scent, to flowering branches and textured seed pods, Winter for flowers is a unique season all of its own.
Once the night time temperature begins to drop, we lament the end of the warm days and prepare ourselves for the long Melbourne Winter. For seasonal florists, the change in weather means a whole new range of things to create with. Paniculata hydrangeas begin to self-preserve on the bush, wild fennel springs up in every spare urban space it can find, and we wave goodbye to the last of the garden roses.
But other things are beginning in nature. Erlicheer and jonquil bulbs start to pop up, buds form on the camellias, magnolias, blossoms and japonica, and by the end of the season they’ll all be in full bloom. Native Australian and South African varieties are getting ready for their big moment, with flowers already forming on the proteas, coccineas, leucadendrons and blushing bride.
In June the first of the poppies come in beautiful bright pops of orange and yellow, along with indigenous woody pears and delicate heath. By July, the stock flowers are in full flush; pumping out big, fluffy blooms with the most amazing, spicy scent. Then come all varieties of banksia, from bright yellow to purply-pink, and spectacularly, the wattle flushes all over Melbourne, brightening up the Winter with its bright yellow florets and sweet fragrance.
This is also the only time of the year for classic fragrant favourites; violets, daphne, wintersweet, witch hazel, luculia, and at the very end of Winter; boronia and jasmine (jasmine also has a second flush in Summer).
Our most spectacular native flower; the gymea lily, blooms around July, sending huge flower spikes up to 4 metres high into the air, with prehistoric-looking, deep wine-coloured flower heads that last for a month in the vase. So special are these giant beauties, that a growers’ licence is required to produce them, and limited numbers are available each year.
By August all of the camellia trees are heavy with blooms. Native thryptomene, eriostemon and waxflower are blooming, as well as hardy varieties like yellow bells, erica and phylica. The early blossoming prunus trees put on a show in pinks and whites, hinting at the warmer weather and new season to come.
With a never-ending procession of flowers coming in and out of bloom, these three months are definitely not boring in the cut flower world. If you are a lover of native or hardy varieties, or super fragrant flowers, winter should be your favourite season! It’s definitely one of ours. It’s also a fabulous time of year for bright flowers which are very much needed here in Melbourne during those cold days.
Although Winter is definitely not our favourite time of the year for weather, we are lucky as florists and flower lovers to experience it. Many of our friends that live further north to do not get to enjoy lots of these varieties, as they either do not grow at all, or will not transport well interstate.