Blooms help lift the gloom while home-bound
FLOWERS are substituting for hugs, showing love and sharing celebrations in the time of COVID-19.
"People are quite distressed and quite emotional at the moment, and sending flowers calms and makes them feel they can still connect with the people they care about," said Westridge Florist Toowoomba owner Karon Cumner.
"It's important not just for the recipient, but for the sender as well."
Messages were ranging from a quick "love from …." sign-off to a half-page of writing because people needed to convey their feelings, Karon said.
From 21sts to 95th birthdays, she said, flowers were helping to brighten celebrations that had to be cancelled.
They have also found a new market in people just letting others know they are thinking of them.
"People have adapted and instead of visiting nana they are sending flowers, and we've also got a lot of nanas sending flowers with unicorns, for instance, to little girls because they can't see them," Karon said.
Despite some very quiet days when coronavirus restrictions first came in, Karon said they had made the decision to keep the Westridge Florist storefront open, and are now very busy, receiving twice the normal number of phone orders and delivery requests as well as personal shoppers.
"We feel we are really helping in the community at the moment when it is very important for people to be able to send something because they can't be there in person, and flowers are always beautiful and lift people's spirits," she said.
She said they were very careful to make deliveries contact-free, and the store has marks on the floor to ensure safe distances are upheld.
"We are just so grateful that people are saying they chose us because they want to support local small business, and that means I can support my staff," Karon said.
Having been established for some 20 years, Karon said the only difference in sending flowers this Mother's Day, traditionally one of the busiest days on any florist's calendar, was that the blooms would all be completely locally sourced.
"We have beautiful seasonal flowers and they are the freshest they have ever been, but there are no imported flowers, so that just means people need to be a little more flexible," she said. She suggested that rather than ordering specific flowers, people might like to choose colours or shades, whether bright or pastels, so the designer can create the most beautiful, unique arrangement possible for each mum from the flowers available.
"We have been very spoilt," Karen said of florists' ability in the past to meet pretty much any flower request. However, she said "within the community people are definitely liking the idea of 'local' again, and that's really exciting".
As well as Toowoomba, Westridge Florist delivers to Oakey, Dalby, Highfields, Cambooya, Wyreema and internationally.
For more information, phone 4687 6259 or go to https://westridgeflorist .com.au/.