GREG DUNN (Owner) & SUE O’DEA (Cropping Manager) – Burwood Nurseries, Cambridge

Burwood Nurseries production site stretches across two massive properties in Cambridge, divided only by a main road.

Sprinkled throughout their property are plastic houses dedicated to rows of chrysanthemums, lisianthus, fresh salad lines and herbs as Burwood Nurseries are also part of the ‘Southern Fresh Group’ who produce high quality crops for the New Zealand food industry.

We had an amazing tour with Manager Sue and Owner Greg as they explained to us the processes of growing Chrysanthemums from tissue culture through to a saleable product.

They produce a wide range of varieties that are sold as ‘spray’ or ‘standard’ to the NZ market. Spray Chrysanthemums have multiple flower heads per stem giving them a ‘spray like’ appearance. Standard Chrysanthemums have one large flower head per stem only. Both spray and standard Chrysanthemums come from the same plant but are manipulated to cultivate a certain way by removing specific flowers as they grow. We learned more about this as Sue demonstrated how their flower pickers remove flower heads to promote the blooms either way!

One of the most fascinating things to see were their rows of Chrysanthemum ‘Mother Plants’ that simply appear to be groupings of leaves. It’s from these plants that they propagate all their cuttings to produce some of New Zealand’s best Chrysanthemums.

Have a read through our 'interview with a grower' Q&A session below to learn more about Burwood Nurseries:

1) What year was your business founded?

1977

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. The Dunn family.

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

We grow flowers in plastic covered greenhouses

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

We have a team of pickers and packers. It is picked and graded in the houses

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

I love the freshness of NZ grown flowers and supporting our growers.

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

Lisianthus – 900,000
Chrysanthemums – a bit more than 1.5 million

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

By keeping in touch with our customers and watching the trends.

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

Around 20 full time staff and up to 10 casuals during summer months

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

Their vase life

11) Explain more about the plant propagation side of your business please

We take Chrysanthemum cuttings and propagate our own Chrysanthemums. After 17- 21 days the cuttings are ready to be transplanted into the houses.