1. How long has Camberwell Market Florist been at the Market?
I’ve been at the Market since 1992. We started our business 2 weeks before the fire, which closed down the Market for repairs for 8 months.
2. What’s something your customers may not know about you?
I am a dog lover and have a cute, loyal but feisty 13-year-old Chihuahua, Bella.
3. Do you have a favourite Market memory?
My favourite Market memory is when I set up and created a committee with the Swinburne Design Faculty where the students teamed up with each of the traders to design their brand, with their work forming part of their portfolio. They also designed and installed Christmas decorations. The holistic team approach between the University, Boroondara Council, design students and small business owners created an exciting vibe. It also culminated in an awards ceremony held at the Market with the Mayor of Boroondara (along with other senior Boroondara officials).
Our logo won the most outstanding design award! And while my logo has since changed, you can still see Camberwell Market Seafoods has the original logo designed for them.
I initiated and managed the whole process in a volunteer capacity and the student, Emily Flannigan, who won the award, has since become a very successful graphics designer.
4.What’s the most common thing customers ask you?
There are a couple of very common questions, mainly how long will they last, and, can you make me a bouquet for $30?
In regards to how long will they last, we hand pick our flowers from the growers and wholesalers, and choose the freshest flowers and foliage available. With 30 year’s experience, we have a strong knowledge of the flower industry.
When it comes to a lower price bouquet, like everything else today, the price of flowers has increased and it’s challenging to make a bouquet for that budget, which includes choosing, preparing and arranging the flowers. Then there’s the expert skill required to gift wrap and tie a perfect bow with quality soft-to-touch double sided satin ribbon. It’s much easier to create a bouquet starting at $80, but we are experts, so we try our best to accommodate all budgets.
5. What’s your best tip for extending the life of fresh-cut flowers?
A fresh bouquet of flowers can add a pop of colour and a pleasant fragrance to any room. However, as time passes, the beauty of the bouquet might start to fade. Here are some tips to help you keep your bouquet looking fresh and beautiful for as long as possible.
- Trim Stems: Cut ends of stems on a 45-degree angle with sharp scissors or a knife. This will help the flowers better absorb water.
- Change the water: Change the water in the vase every two days to keep it fresh and free from bacteria. Also, add a drop of bleach to help extend the life of the flowers.
- Keep the water level consistent: Make sure the water level in the vase is high enough to cover the stems, but not too high that it covers the leaves of flowers.
- Remove any leaves below the water line: Leaves left in the water can cause bacteria to grow, which can shorten the life of the flowers.
- Keep the bouquet in a cool place: Avoid placing the bouquet in direct sunlight or near heat sources. Cooler temperatures will help the flowers last longer.
- Mist the flowers: If the room is dry, mist the flowers a little with water to keep them hydrated.
- Keep the vase clean: Clean the vase with hot water. Add a little bleach to make the vase sparkling clean and prevent bacteria build up.
By following these tips, you can help extend the life of your bouquet and enjoy its beauty for days to come.
6. What’s your favourite flower-arranging hack or tip you can share?
Start with a vase with a narrow opening, as you will need less flowers to fill the vase. Next, choose fresh foliage and arrange in a criss-cross fashion. Finally, add your flowers. Firstly, large headed blooms. Go for odd numbers as this is visually appealing to the eye. Then fill in with small headed blooms. Voila! There’s your beautiful arrangement 😊
7. What flower is your all-time favourite, and why?
Flannel Flower. Actinotus helianthi, known as the flannel flower, is a common species of flowering plant native to the bushland around Sydney. The flower has soft to touch velvet petals, silver grey foliage and is native to Australia.
My next favourite, and most popular in the store, is Peony. Everyone wants to know when is Peony season. In Melbourne, Peony season is from September to December. Peonies are also imported from France from April to June. Their colours range from white, to pink and red and coral.
8. Moving away from flowers, what do you love cooking the most?
When I have time I love to make my own pizza, starting from making the dough. I use the finest ingredients including passata, Sopressa salami, Kalamata olives and Mozzarella. My guru is Gabriele Bonci, an Italian chef who specializes in pizza al taglio.
9. What do you eat when you go out for dinner?
I have an eclectic palate, so it could be Japanese, Italian, Viennese, Korean.
10. What do you love most about being part of the Market?
Without a doubt, it’s the people who own small businesses in the market. I love them all. They work so hard, 7 days a week, to bring the best produce to the customers. With their products they offer their worldly wisdom. If you want to know how to prepare a meal, you’re going to get confident, informed advice. You won’t find that level of experience anywhere else.