NO GROW: Flower businesses forced to close doors
SWITCHING from vegetable to flower growing is a popular thing across our region but, no matter what industry you're in, all local growers face the same problems.
Owner of Sharon's Farm Fresh Flowers, Sharon Norton "had no other choice" than to pull the plug on her flower business, with the effects of the drought taking its toll.
"It was either water the flowers or water us and the sheep.
"So the flowers had to get pulled out."
Ms Norton said she had to put a stop to her growing of seasonal flowers in October, with herself, her husband and her 17-year old son having to look for work elsewhere.
"It was the three of us all involved in the business.
"We had our son as a trainee and we had to terminate that because we just can afford to pay him anymore."
The 110mm of rain that the Granite Belt saw a couple of weekends ago isn't enough.
Ms Norton said she needed consistent rainfall to be able to start her business again.
"It's just not worth the risk.
"We don't want to waste our money on seedlings and then be back in this situation again."
She said the goal was to wait until they had full dams before they kicked off the flower business again.
"Who can tell? Fingers are crossed it will happen this year.
"We want to be able to look after them properly and not cut corners, because they do cost a lot of money to grow."
With Valentine's Day right around the corner Ms Norton said her business would usually be in full swing this time of year.
"It's just heartbreaking," she said.
Ms Norton isn't alone, with local florist owner Josie Cannovo facing similar problems.
The childcare worker was devastated when she too had to close down her local flower business.
"My husband and I are both vegetable growers," she said.
"Because of the drought we have had to go and seek work elsewhere."
The pair are currently living in Brisbane, with the future of Ms Cannovo's business remaining uncertain.
"I don't know how long it will be closed for."
Both Ms Norton and Ms Cannovo are in the same boat, patiently waiting for the drought to break.
"It's a real shame because I was getting so many orders in," Ms Cannovo said.
"Lots of customers and those same people ringing up all the time."
The fate of the Granite Belt's flower industry is out of both women's hands now.