Melbourne's Native Florist, Bush

Melbourne florist Bush is a reimagining and celebration of Australian native botanicals. Walk into Bush, and you will be transported into a native wonderland of expressive blooms and foliage that are the heart of Australia.

It was a pleasure chatting with Michael, the owner of Melbourne florist Bush, and meeting Carlie, one of their star florists! Read on as Michael shares his long love for native flowers, from growing natives on his Sandy Hill Banksia Farm to supporting local flower farms and many exciting adventures to come, including a book! With all this joy, we are celebrating our mutual love of flowers with an Instagram giveaway! Head over to our Instagram and enter tonight!  

Looking to visit Bush? You can find their beautiful space at 917 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, in Victoria.

How did Bush begin, what can people expect, and who's behind it?

Bush was officially opened in November 2019 by Michael Pavlou and his team. Michael had a florist in the South Melbourne Market, which became known for its vast range of native flowers. Unofficially Bush started years earlier, the idea being born in the old Footscray Flower Market when Michael realised that the majority of Australian Native Flowers were conspicuously absent from the market floor. What was available tended to be surplus production from supermarket posies.

The idea, first and foremost, was to get people to fall in love with them again and to look at them in a different way. We wanted to work with growers to produce more variety which better represented the incredible diversity of our native flora. Shedding the idea that people buy natives because they are long lasting and embracing the idea that natives can be soft and delicate or bright and vibrant. Bush embraces sustainability and aspires to be the most responsible way to enjoy beautiful flowers.

Can you tell us more about your Banksia farm and the growers you support?

Sandy Hill Banksia Farm is our property located in Northern Victoria, close to the Murray River. It is a 7 acre undulating sand block that has an extensive array of East and West Coast Banksias. There is always a variety of Banksia in bloom, no matter what time of year. We have just planted a whole heap of Eucalyptus macrocarpa, Red Wattles and Sturts Desert Peas, all our favourite things that we can't get enough of. Marilyn Sprague, one of our favourite small scale suppliers, has a 10-acre native garden in Mandurang which produces very small quantities of the most brilliant flowers.

We have many incredible suppliers from all around Australia.

The main flower growing regions are areas with sandy soil, such as the Grampians, parts of South Australia, most of West Australia and East Gippsland around Sale. We also source flowers from New South Wales and Southern Queensland, such as Festival Bush and Kangaroo Paws, which tend to flower at different times of the year up there.

Can you share tips on styling wildflowers at home?

When arranging at home, I generally have an approach where I identify what the key attribute of the flower I am working with and focus on accentuating it. Most of the time, it's not even the flower itself but the foliage. Also, most stems have a curvature, so trying to work with the natural lines of things instead of forcing them to do something they don't want to do. Lastly, simplicity, sometimes you can't get better than a beautiful vase of one variety of flower like wattle or flowering gum.

What are your favourite place to visit to see wildflowers bloom?

The Australian Native Botanical Gardens in Cranbourne is one of the most underrated places in Victoria and is worth a visit.
Marilyn's garden is one of the most inspiring places for native flower lovers. She puts on an open day once a year, but it fills up very fast. Lastly, West Australia, if you can get there, is a dream.

What's in store for Bush this year?

There are so many exciting things happening in 2023, but it is hard to go past the release of our book Bush Flowers through Thames and Hudson, which is due out 28th of February 2023. It was a project that we started during covid and is a sort of love song to Australian Native flowers. The book contains styling and design tips, flower care information and an extensive native plant index. We can't wait to share it with everyone.

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