Every wedding poses challenges for a florist, but the questions Shannon Whelan was asking herself as she prepared for a couple’s big day last month were completely out of the ordinary. “Can I go and cut from the forest? Can I get out of town and cut white clematis from a marsh?” wondered Whelan, owner of Toronto-based Euclid Farms.
Her wholesale reps had already told her all the British Columbia-grown greenery that she would normally use for wreaths and other creations were going to be “very, very limited because of forest fires.” Meanwhile, the available stock of flowers imported from around the world which are also popular at weddings, especially white roses, are nowhere close to meeting demand. “We’re in a global flower shortage,” Whelan says.
Now that restrictions have lifted and weddings and other events are taking place, florists are scrambling to meet demand. “In terms of imported flowers, there’s a major, major shortage,” says Jaimie Reeves, owner of Leaf & Bloom, a floral design company in Toronto. “We place orders with our sales reps, with our suppliers and they’re basically like, fingers crossed you’ll get it. And then a week before you pick up the flowers, you’ll get an e-mail saying, Nope, none of them were shipped.”
Growers producing less this year is one factor that causes this shortage. The forest fires in Western Canada, where many varieties of flowers are usually grown before being shipped to the rest of the country also factor into it.
The one bright spot of the shortage is that it has boosted demand for locally grown flowers, Reeves says. But even the local market is suffering from the uncertainty of supply and the pandemic. Case in point: organizers of the Toronto Flower Market, which was set to take place on Thanksgiving weekend, decided to cancel the event because of the last-minute planning required as a result of the pandemic.
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