COVID-19: Lockdown ruins peak picking season for Daffodil Day

Fields of flowers will be left to ruin in Canterbury as lockdown ruins peak picking season.

COVID's also cancelled the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day street appeal which was meant to be on Friday.

Fifty acres of daffodils in full, beautiful bloom.

"Unfortunately all the daffodils you can see that are open are completely wasted - there's nothing we can do with them," says Courtney Chamberlain.

As the country ground to a halt under level 4 lockdown so did the picking of tight daffodil buds.

"Little bit depressing when you actually put a whole years' work into one week," says Hadstock Farm co-owner John Chamberlain. "I look back and wonder why you do it all really."

John is fifth-generation on Hadstock Farm and third-generation growing flowers. It's never been this tough.

"I think flower growers seem to be a wee bit singled out at the moment, not allowed to sell flowers but they're selling gift baskets and liquor and everything," he says.

He says the business could easily operate under level 4.

"If you look at the paddock you could be within three metres of each other there's no social contact so they could still be picked and marketed."

But it's not deemed essential and so isn't allowed to. There would normally be around 20 staff picking up to 5000 bunches and distributing roughly 300,000 stems each week.

Even if level 4 lifts for the South Island on Friday their flower income has already halved.

"At the moment we're just seeing so much wastage of daffodils that should be picked and put in the cooler at the moment were not able to pick and we're not able to sell if we did pick anyway," Courtney says.

Despite growing other flowers, daffodils are the money makers.

"I've got a lot of daffodils picked I thought were going to the Cancer Society I will have to dispose of," John says.

For the second year COVID has impacted the Daffodil Day street appeal.

"Normally the street appeal this Friday would bring in 1 million dollars but it's also a good chance to connect to people out in the community that we provide services to and a day that our staff and volunteers really look forward to and enjoy," Cancer Society CEO Lucy Elwood says.

The Cancer Society has moved their donation online it's not an option for flower growers.

"They're just going to grow old in the paddock, unfortunately there's not a lot else we can do," John says.

A year's worth of work left only to admire.