Providing forty thousand purple hydrangea heads for a Saudi Arabian wedding has been one of the more memorable orders for flower exporter David Ballard.
Flower exports are worth 25 million dollars to New Zealand. Thirteen million of that comes from cymbidium orchids, with hydrangeas taking second place at nearly three million dollars.
David Ballard is managing director of Auckland based NZ Bloom, and he says in the past 15 years hydrangeas have developed a mature, broad export market, with the wedding season in the Middle East being a useful seasonal event. "The weddings tend to be in January when it's cooler there, and quieter for exports here. It works well."
The stems also go to the United States, SE Asia, China, Japan and India.
"Hydrangeas are very much the party flower, they fill up a lot of space. They have a lot of impact in a room" says David.