The first thing you notice walking into Florada – after greeting Bernie, the owner’s adorable cavalier – is the glorious smell. Yes, you’d expect as much at a florist, but this is different: an intoxicating mix of floral scents hangs in the air – a nice change to the generic “flower” smell (in the same way red lollies smell of “strawberry”) you might find elsewhere.
“People don’t realise fragrance has been bred out of most flowers so they last longer,” explains owner Dhani D’Arcy, whose business (and personal life) is defined by environmentally friendly practices. “The vase life of some fragrant roses might be slightly less, but you get much more joy from a scented rose – particularly knowing it hasn’t been fumigated on arrival to Australia.”
When Florada opened on leafy Bellevue Road at the end of last year it was a proud day for D’Arcy, who’d spent seven years working as a florist on the side. D’Arcy’s drive to make a change in the floral industry sets her shop apart: all its flowers are Australian-grown (no carbon-heavy imports); flower availability depends on the season (to avoid pesticides); all packaging is recyclable or reusable (think bows made from the silk of old saris); and green waste is managed properly.
“Most people don’t associate unsustainable practices with an industry that’s based around something so beautiful and natural. But sadly, and ironically, there’s all this hidden waste and damage that people don’t pay attention to,” D’Arcy tells Broadsheet.
The quality of the bunches at Florada is next to none. You might not be able to get certain rose varieties or orchids all year round, but you’re guaranteed seasonal, beautiful, Australian-grown flowers that will make any space look (and smell) divine. There are pre-made arrangements, or you can chat to D’Arcy and she’ll make a bespoke bouquet for you. There’s also a small selection of handmade Rad Ceramics in store (made by D’Arcy’s sister who lives on the Gold Coast), plus some plants, pots and vases. You can also order online, and same-day delivery is available across Sydney.
Florada also does flowers for weddings and events, and offers workshops where you can make your own bouquets, wreaths and table arrangements using either fresh flowers or naturally dried ones. At the same time, you can learn about the detrimental impacts of the floral industry (and what to look for when buying flowers).
Florada’s beautiful blooms are one thing, but the way it – and D’Arcy – will inspire you to broaden the horizons of your environmental consciousness is hard to find anywhere else.
98D Bellevue Road, Bellevue Hill
0414 911 632
Mon to Fri 9am–4pm