AU: Tree-changing flower farmer offers homegrown alternative to imported blooms

After eight years working as an interior designer in Sydney, Erin Dore swapped stilettos for gumboots, heading home to establish Petal Head farm and florist on her parent's historic Gympie property in regional Queensland. 

COVID-19 made Ms. Dore re-evaluate, so she invested all her savings and is now earning a living from her green thumb. Since January she has packed the large house block with stunning flowers grown from seed, or bulbs in the case of striking hot pink dahlias, donated by neighbor Marge.

"People are just kind of amazed by the colors and the textures, so that's what makes me really excited," Ms. Dore said.

Imports herbicide treated
Last financial year 209,500,000 flower stems were imported, up 8 million stems on the year before.

The federal government has issued a special permit, allowing the stems of imported roses, carnations, lithianthus, chrysanthemums, and delphiniums to be dipped in a dilution of glyphosate up to 5 centimeters from the bud. It prevents them from being grafted onto local rootstock and potentially transmitting exotic viral and other diseases.

An Aldi spokesperson said the treatment process was in direct accordance with the Australian Department of Agriculture's guidance to combat pests posing a threat to Australia's ecosystem.

Call for transparency
Flower Industry Australia wants consumers to be given the choice of avoiding herbicide-treated blooms by introducing country-of-origin labeling for flowers.

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