Business in full bloom

FLOWER fashion is as fickle as the rag trade, but Fremantle florist Claire Morris doesn’t blindly follow the crowd.

“I pay attention to current trends but have my own style,” she says.

The Flower Hound, on South Terrace, reflects the Ardross local’s individuality with a mix of exotics and native flowers.

“We have a lot to celebrate in Australian native, but it depends on how you put them together.”

Morris reckons she gets her passion for imaginative floral art from her UK grandfather, who was “a flower grower and shower”.

Bunches of his dahlias and chrysanthemums “the size of dinner plates”, were sold door-to-door.

Emigrating as a youngster, Morris’ love of flowers never diminished, and with no formal training she began selling posies at the Grumpy Sailor in Fremantle.

Like her grandfather’s flowers they proved popular, selling quickly.

“And I would be in Fremantle again, restocking,” Morris says.

A Subiaco Markets stall selling native flowers was next on her floral journey: “People used to line up when I was putting a bunch together.”

Working in the public gaze was a good grounding in quickly creating floral masterpieces: “A skill learnt under pressure,” Morris smiles.

The Flower Hound started off at the Fremantle Corner Store, but quickly outgrew its space, and Morris took over the run-down old Central Fremantle Music Shop.

Her designs have been used on the set for the Australian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty and in a photo shoot for Australian House and Garden Magazine.

• Flower Hound owner Claire Morris’ two-week old daughter, Ruby. Photo supplied

But the industry is as fragile as the flowers it relies on.

“People don’t sneeze at a $5 coffee because we love our food, but flowers are not the same,” Morris says.

WA flower growers are a disappearing breed, and as they age the large blocks are subdivided for housing.

“It drives up the need to import flowers, adding to the cost,” Morris says.

And online florists are also eating into her profits.

“If people want local florists they need to support them or they will disappear,” she says.

Christmas is a good start, and along with its usual stock, The Flower Hound has a range of Christmas wreaths, some traditional, but plenty with an Aussie twist.

by JENNY D’ANGER

The Flower Hound
149 South Terrace, Fremantle
0411 488 834

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