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Heat puts paid to a Mother’s Day ritual

Friday, 3rd May, 2013

Silverlea’s General Manager, Ron Hellyer, with one of the many chrysanthemum plants that have been stunted by the recent heat. Silverlea’s General Manager, Ron Hellyer, with one of the many chrysanthemum plants that have been stunted by the recent heat.

By Darrin Manuel

The tradition of a bouquet of chrysanthemums from Picton Plants will go by the wayside this year after hot weather ruined this year's crop.

Picton Plants has been providing local families and businesses with the signature Mother's Day flowers for about 20 years.

Silverlea's General Manager, Ron Hellyer, said it would be difficult to estimate the exact number of plants that have been lost.

"We couldn't put a number on it, it's basically a harvest, two full paddocks' worth," he said.

"Unfortunately it's just been too hot with the extended summer. We haven't had the cold weather we need.

"They just haven't grown and expanded like they would normally ... and the whole back paddock is just burnt.

"Usually during this week they'd all be out to a full bloom."

Mr Hellyer said it was disappointing that Picton Plants would be unable to provide their usual Mother's Day flowers.

"Without sensationalising it, we just can't provide the same tradition that we have for the last 20 years," he said.

"A lot of people come out and there's that expectation every year that the flowers will be there, but unfortunately this year they won't be.

"One year we had a bad crop due to significant rain, but nothing as bad as this.

"Commercial places grow them all indoors under lights, but unfortunately we're not in the same boat."

The loss of sales will also be unfortunate for Silverlea. The chrysanthemum sale is a big fundraiser for the notfor-profit organisation.

"We usually have 20 to 30 volunteers out here and it's a big community day," he said.

"But we'll do it again next year. We're not giving up."

Perhaps the only silver lining will be a boost in business for local florists.

Locals wishing to give chrysanthemums on Mother's Day are advised to contact a florist at their earliest convenience to ensure adequate numbers can be ordered in advance.

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