A lifetime of early hours, battling weather, growing tricky Aussie wildflowers is challenging but Craig wouldn’t have it any other way.
What encouraged you into the cut flower industry?
After completing a motor mechanics course, I had the opportunity to work on my family’s cut flower farm in the Sutherland Shire. It was mostly to see if I wanted to be involved in the flower industry... clearly, it worked out.
Who was the big influencer in your family to join the ornamental horticulture world?
Both my father and mother played a role in influencing me onto the farm. My family has a long history in the flower industry going back to my grandfather and great grandfather, Pop Scott.
Were you a natural or did you study to achieve your success or both?
From an early age I had an interest in flowers. I remember growing plants and arranging flowers – even surprising the minister at my church when I wanted to go onto the flower- arranging roster. I have a good eye and a strong passion for Australian native flowers; growing up surrounded by the natural Australian landscape was a big influence. There’s always something new to see and delight in. I studied horticulture at TAFE, both at Padstow and Ryde. In horticulture, your whole life is a learning experience and there’s always something to learn from others.
What are the hardest flowers to grow?
Many native plants are hard to grow outside their native environment. Plants like Sturt Desert pea, Western Australian boronias and, even though it's abundant in the local bushland on the eastern coast of NSW, the NSW Waratah can also be a heart breaker.
What are your favourite cut flowers?
I have many, but my three favourites are: waratah, flannel flower, and red and green kangaroo paw.
Early hours at the flower markets, long daily hours and pests, diseases, and weather to watch out for, what’s the attraction?
It’s not an easy lifestyle in many respects – long hours and at the mercy of the conditions, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The beauty of Australian flora, being able to grow it well and offer these flowers to florists and their customers so that many can enjoy our flora feels very worthwhile. My hope is that many more growers will take up the challenge of growing Australian wildflowers.
What’s new in flowers to watch out for at local florists?
I love that our native flora is very seasonal. When you go into your local florist have a look or ask the florist what is in season – as we move from late winter to spring, there is an abundance of glorious wildflowers. Look out for new Geraldton wax varieties, paper daisy and if you are lucky, there is a pink waratah that flowers for a short window in mid-September. There is variety today that continues to expand but my advice is to look out for varieties grown commercially as its important to look after the natural environment for future generation.
Keep up to date with Craig on Instagram @craigioscott or follow East Coast Wildflowers on Facebook. For more details on their flowers, visit www.eastcoastwildflowers.com.au