Two friends have come together to put their stamp on the region’s floristry scene.

Drawing on knowledge handed down by her father Hans Duivenvoorden, Belinda McDermott has joined forces with Amelia Lazdins to create the business Bunched Together a specialty florist creating contemporary creations for weddings and special events.
“My dad was a dutchy who emigrated in the 1970s and developed the farm at Monbulk. So I have been around flowers since I was a kid,” said Belinda. “I can remember dad showing me how to get 10 bunches of flowers into a bucket by ‘hugging’ them together,” she laughed.

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Although flowers and growing was part of her life from a very young age, when Belinda was a teenager she was a “bit sick of the flowers” and pursued other interests. But, eight years ago her father passed away and she took on the farm, the flowers, and the iconic roadside flower stall on Monbulk Road.

As Belinda said the Monbulk and the Silvan areas are one of the biggest flower growing regions in the country and she sources many of her flowers for the roadstall, and for events from local growers who she proudly calls friends.

The roadstall was established in 1971, and it goes without saying it is a Dandenongs landmark with people travelling far and wide to enjoy the blooms. About one acre of her farm is devoted to growing flowers that supply about 20 per cent of the stock Belinda and Amelia use to help couples create memorable weddings.

With Belinda’s knowledge of growing flowers and Amelia’s visual merchandising experience she has developed working with style guru Joost Bakker, the pair focus on quality and put a fresh, new twist on floral art.

Belinda also operates a wholesale flower business with her husband called Farmgate Flowers, and it is here that she met Amelia when supplying flowers for some of Amelia’s work with Joost.
“We really love the creativity that comes from working together and enjoy the preparation for a wedding just as much as the day.”
“We have been teaching each other really,” said Amelia. “Belinda knows so much about many different flowers and we have been able to marry our resources well.”

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So far there is a buzz about their work which is smart, contemporary and beautiful. Most of their work comes through word of mouth and through enquires at the roadstall.

Both have an infectious passion about flowers and design, and they aim to make their new venture their full time careers.
On the day our photographer met up with Belinda and Amelia for the photo shoot at Yarra Ranges Estate they brought with them all manner of flowers and vessels.

To create a personal touch to a wedding the pair will often look outside the box to find unique vases and displays for their flowers. For the Yarra Ranges Estate photo shoot they made a hanging pot from a fishbowl with a modern take on macramé – simple and unique. Coloured glass jars, twine, bark, foliage and plenty of texture go into their contemporary designs.

According to Belinda and Amelia the current trend in wedding flowers is not straight forward. But a current theme for many brides is a relaxed, country style posie for their bouquet – “as if a fresh bunch was just picked from the field.”
“People are more relaxed with the bunches at the moment, but the whites, creams and simple pink colours are also popular,” said Belinda.
“Sometimes a bride will have a photo from a magazine with flowers they like, but sometimes we have to let them know that at the time of their wedding those flowers won’t be in season.”

You can view some of their work on www.facebook.com/bunchedtogether
For more information contact Belinda on 0409 991 173.
Flowers by the Roadstall is located at 435 Monbulk Road, Monbulk.

WORDS Rebecca Faltyn   PHOTOGRAPHS Adele Van Es