DAVID BLEWDEN - Lilies by Blewden, Cambridge

When visiting a flower grower you have initial images of vast houses filled with brightly coloured rows of flowers and heady scents filling the air.

What may surprise you is that when visiting a New Zealand lily grower, this is not the case!

Lilies are one of the few cut flowers that are sent to market in a very 'closed state' meaning their beautiful colour and scent remains hidden until you get them home and allow them time to open. This not only makes them easier to transport (less chance to damage opened blooms) but allows for a longer vase life for the end consumer as they get to enjoy lilies opening in their very own homes!

Lilies by Blewden are committed to growing safe and sustainable lilies from their immaculate property in Cambridge. They produce lilies using industry best practice guidelines set out by the NZ GAP (New Zealand Good Agricultural Practice) and use a series of IPM (integrated pest management) to control pests in their plastic houses. 'Integrated pest management' means chemical use is kept to an absolute minimum - resulting in fewer nasty residues on their flowers!

David was enthusiastic showing us around his nursery, you can tell how passionate he is to be a NZ Flower Grower.

Lilies by Blewden are having an OPEN DAY at their property in Cambridge on Saturday 25th November from 10am-2pm. If you want a tour of a New Zealand lily nursery then head out their way for a fun day with the family. Details of the Lilies by Blewden can be found on our event page here.


Have a read through our 'interview with a grower' Q&A session below to learn more about David and his business:


1) What year was your business founded?

1993

2) Have flowers always been your primary crop?

Yes

3) Is it a family run business? If so who are the family members involved?

Yes. David and Anne Blewden (Husband & Wife team!)

4) How do you grow your product lines? (under glass? In trays? Etc)

In soil, inside heated, climate controlled plastic greenhouses

5) How to you pick/process your product lines?

Lilies are picked by hand and are graded and bunched on a semi-automatic bunching line

6) Tell us what you love about growing flowers for the NZ market.

The challenge of meeting ever changing market and growing conditions. The fantastic people we have met and the fact we are doing something that brings happiness, joy and colour to people’s lives.

7) How many stems per season do you produce in each of your product lines?

1.1million

8) How do you keep up with the trends in the market?

We visit our customers annually. We monitor our sales data weekly. We trial at least 30 new varieties every year.

9) How many staff does it take to keep your business running?


7

10) What makes NZ Grown Products superior to the rest?

In our case it is best practice as recognised by our NZGAP accreditation. With a perishable product being close to your market is a big advantage. Also we import a 'specific to lilies' post-harvest conditioner from Holland. This improves vase live by up to 40% as well as improving leaf colour, bud and flower development and prevents colour fading in the open flowers.