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Extract from 'North & South' magazine

Taking on the Trillium - Left Field Crops

Central Otago cut-flower grower Jane Preston admits that taking on trilliums was a bit of an export long-shot.

Trilliums prefer dappled shade rather than the harsh Central Otago sunlight. Aside from the less-than-perfect growing environment the perennial's suitability for export was also marginal. The stems - shorter than ideal were prone to wilt, and whether they would last the distance and find favour with overseas buyers was unknown.

Jane with her Trilliums

But Jane has sorted out the fragile flower's foibles and made inroads into the United States. Her trilliums have been showcased at the Atlanta Wholesale Florist and Flower Suppliers Association show, a must-see for American cutflower wholesalers.

Apart from their simple stunning presence, Jane attributes the American centre-stage treatment to the bloom's familiarity & serenity. "They're known to many because they grow wild in some woodland places. In some state you're not allowed to pick them and they have an almost cult status."

But for Jane, who picks, wipes pollen from each leaf, bunches and packs stems of three into long tetron-lined boxes, any infatuation has long since vanished. "I look at them clinically now. I'm always thinking 'How long is that stem?' and 'How will it pick'"

From a story by Linda Gray


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