At 4am, Rebekah Malherbe and stylist Jan Drinan are waiting for the doors to open at the Melbourne Market in Footscray. Together they briskly hunt and gather the freshest flowers and foliage, plus a few unlikely pickings too.

“It’s a matter of first in, best dressed,” says Malherbe.

Malherbe is also the owner of Sebastian’s Food & Wine on the main strip in Hampton. She opened Bateau next door after she received compliments on her unique, fresh-cut flower displays in the restaurant. She was sending customers to flower shops all over Melbourne, now she just sends them one door over.

Malherbe likes to include unlikely items in her arrangements including artichokes, figs and chincherees (an asparagus-like plant). “I’ve always loved dressing Sebastian’s with food-related bits and pieces and people get really excited about them,” Malherbe says.

“How cool are these?” says Malherbe as she prods the edible elements. “They’re not only unusual but they’re longer lasting.”

Bateau is compact in size and sleek in design. A round glass table displays a seasonal assortment of traditional roses, dancing lady orchids and lotus pods, and the shop is filled with hanging plants, succulents and ferns.

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Malherbe also works with local artists to include reusable objects and antique vessels to display and store indoor and outdoor plants.

For Malherbe, Bateau has become the natural complement to Sebastian’s.

“People go and have breakfast, then they get a takeaway coffee and then they get their flowers. It’s kind of my idea of a perfect morning, really.”

Bateau Flowers
295 Hampton Street, Hampton
(03) 9521 0920

Tue to Sun 8am-5pm