Right Up Garden Graffiti's Alley

Street Art + Flowers in Melbourne’s Laneway

I know I’m a bit late to the party but did any Melbourne friends see the installation of 35,000 red tulips that appeared in Hosier Lane last week? 

Image by Thomas Brooke for  Broadsheet Melbourne

Image by Thomas Brooke for Broadsheet Melbourne

If you need some catching up, a local flower grower in Victoria Joost Bakker decided to giveaway the ‘not quite good enough to sell’ tulips to the public in one of Melbourne’s most iconic laneways. 

The result is a breathtaking, ‘grammable installation that aims to bring awareness to local flower growers in this country.

Bakker said the industry is currently under pressure from imported flowers with some estimating close to 70% of flowers sold in Australia are imported.

It’s kind of unfathomable, that a country with so many different climates, has to rely so heavily on imports from overseas. 

When I was working in London, sometimes you were visited by ‘The Flying Dutchman’, which sounds like a very nice dream to have….. but, as it turned out, it was just what we called a Dutch flower lorry. 

It was a never-ending flower wholesaler on wheels that made you feel like you were walking inside Mary Poppins carpet bag. And it would drive from the Amsterdam markets to your front door in London in less than half a day. 

As a gigantic island in the middle of nowhere, you’d think we would have more of a focus on creating a local and sustainable cut flower industry, things can’t even be flown to us in less than half a day. Below is just a little reminder of what we are dealing with here.


What’s funny is that most British florists are so adamant about buying British flowers wherever possible (as they should be!), and one of the main reasons is just that flowers decrease in quality the longer they travel.

We can’t change our geography, but we can push for Australian grown flowers. We make these decisions as the consumer. Whether you’re an appreciator of flowers and splurge on your special bunch once a month, or you’re a florist spending up weekly at your flower market, it’s about asking those questions and putting your money in a local farmers pocket.

And once you have the answer, let’s share the knowledge. 

Let’s tag our local flower farmer in our designs on social media, we owe it to ourselves to engage in the conversation, to educate our customer, to promote industry growth and support fellow local businesses. 

Image by Thomas Brooke for  Broadsheet Melbourne

Image by Thomas Brooke for Broadsheet Melbourne

In the end, there were hundreds of people wandering through Melbourne CBD clutching a handful of tulips. And if flowers mean anything, it’s the simple joy they can bring just by being naturally beautiful.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand. And a Heaven in a Wild Flower - William Blake.

Do you have a favourite flower farm in Australia? Do you ask your florist about where their flowers come from? Would you pay more for flowers grown locally?

Are there any flower farms in South East Queensland or Northern New South Wales that would let me visit so I can educate myself further and perhaps attempt more writing? This is my first piece of ‘creative’ writing since high school drama, so really, it should be only up from here!


Kat from Garden Graffiti x