Flower farmer prepares for Valentine’s Day rush

Love and the sweet smell of roses are in the air at Thornton Bros Roses ahead of Valentine’s Day next week.

The Thirlmere flower grower and wholesaler workers are looking forward to cutting fresh roses next week so loved up couples can purchase a beautiful long-stemmed bunch.

Owner John Thornton said despite cutting down the number of rose bushes, he was still excited to sell his roses at the farm shed.

“At the shed, we will sell about 150 to 200 bunches of roses grown at the farm in the lead up to Valentine’s Day next week,” he said. “There are 10 roses in each bunch.”

Mr Thornton said he would also buy 1000 bunches of roses from the markets and supply them to florists in Wollongong, Canberra, Yass and Goulburn.

The businessman said his roses would be extra fresh because the pickers cut the roses at the farm only one or two days before Valentine’s Day.

He said it usually took about three or four hours to cut all the roses.

Mr Thornton said he grew red roses for Valentines Day because they were the most popular. White and pink roses will also available.

He encouraged those who wanted to buy a bunch of roses to support local growers.

“We still get young people coming in to buy roses at the farm,” Mr Thornton said.

“It is encouraging to see young people continuing the tradition of buying flowers.

“It is good to see locals supporting local growers because unfortunately there aren’t many of us around anymore.”

Mr Thornton said he had pulled out his rose bushes in the last five years because suppliers were importing roses rather than buying them from local growers.

“Five years ago, I would sell about 2500 to 3000 bunches because I had 10,000 plants but now I only have a fraction left,” he said.

“It is not easy to grow the roses to the 50 to 60 centimetre length that people want because of the heat in Australia.

“The growing conditions for roses here aren’t as good as they are overseas.

“They can also grow different varieties with bigger heads.”

Mr Thornton said his day began at 10pm at the Flemington Market and he and his team worked all night to buy flowers from local growers.

They sold flowers at a store at Flemington Market until 6am and orders were put together and shipped to florists.

He said Mother’s Day was their most popular time of year because they could sell all varieties of flowers.

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