More weddings, fewer flowers, and skyrocketing prices.

More weddings, fewer flowers, and skyrocketing prices: that is how some Southwestern Ontario florists are describing the current state of the floral industry, a result of a global flower shortage spurred by the pandemic.

"This year was worse than last year," said Jay Harrison, designer and co-owner of Lyric Flowers in St. Marys, northeast of London. "When things really opened up in the wedding industry, and everybody wanted white flowers, all of a sudden you were paying a premium," Harrison said. "I had to go to seven different people just to get what I needed for one wedding."

At Harris Flower Farm in St. Thomas, demand for its locally grown flowers is blooming. Many of this year's orders are coming from area florists who cannot get their hands on buds requested by their customers, said Janis Harris, a flower farmer and florist who owns the farm.

"Since Covid happened in 2020, the demand for our flowers has been crazy," said Harris, who heads the Canadian region for the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCGF), a member organization for commercial flower growers across North America. "We are trying to keep up as best as we can, but we also want to stay true to where our customers have been," she said. "We have our clientele set up, so when we have 15 to 20 new florists coming to us wanting our flowers, it's great, but we need that infrastructure to get the volume up, and that's not an instant thing."

The majority of the farm's sales are made to deliver directly to customers while less than half are distributed for weddings, Harris said. She said about half of the weddings the farm was to supply stock for last year were pushed to this year.

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