Rebecka Keeling in her garden.
Mahurangi residents and visitors can now pick their own flowers at a special garden located behind Charlies Gelato on Sharp Road in Matakana.
The idea is the brainchild of Rebecka Keeling. She borrowed the concept from similar gardens in her native Sweden to establish her own business, Slow Blooms.
After leasing nearly half a hectare from Charlie’s, Rebecka has spent the last five months creating the garden, which is now awash with flowers including sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, sweetpeas and a selection of herbs useful for making tea. The flowers include varieties and colours that are unavailable at garden centres and will change according to the season.
Slow Blooms opened just before Christmas and Rebecka says sweetpeas have proved especially popular.
“People have been taking them to go camping and putting them in their tent or caravan to make them smell nice,” she says.
Rebecka says picking their own flowers allows visitors to experience them with all their senses and figure out which ones have the greatest appeal to them.
She says it is also more eco-friendly and sustainable. The name Slow Blooms is a play on the “slow food” movement with its emphasis on food that is in season, produced locally and takes time to grow and cook.
Rebecka says not many people realise that a lot of flowers in shops in New Zealand are flown in from overseas. The result is flowers end up in the country that are not in season here. They have also likely spent a week in transit and will not last nearly as long as a flower freshly picked locally.
She adds those who pick their own flowers at Slow Blooms can be certain that they are not grown in a greenhouse overseas full of poisonous gasses staffed by underpaid workers.