Posts Tagged “carnations”

From Field to Float: The Flowers

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float

 

I hope everyone survived, I mean, enjoyed a wonderful holiday with friends and family! While the holiday madness may be over, things are really gearing up for us on the Rose Parade end of things. Flowers grown specifically for the Rose Parade have been cultivated, packed and shipped to the United States from Colombia and Ecuador, awaiting their final destination on one of the floats.

First stop: Miami!

After being harvested and packed up in South America, they make their way to Miami, their first stop in the States. Trucks pick them up at the airport and they are transported to our Miami Distribution center.

 

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

 

We then receive & distribute the flowers in Miami.

 

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

Rose Parade 2016 From Field to Float Miami

 

 

…and then send them off to their final destination, California!

 

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

Rose Parade 2016 Field to Float California

 

Stay tuned for some more behind the scenes as the countdown to the Rose Parade begins!

From Field to Float: The Early Stages

Phoenix Decorating Rose Parade Float

 


Remember when I said we were going to start this process from the ground up? And that you’d find out what I meant later? Well, later is now. In this segment, I wanted to show you the two biggest components of the float in their beginning stages. What might those two components be? Yep, that would be the flowers (thank you Captain Obvious) and the structure of the float itself.

If you follow our blog, you probably remember seeing a post or two (or five) about my recent trip to Colombia, and more specifically, a farm tour of Liberty Blooms. While we were at Liberty Blooms (also our hosts during our stay in Medellín), we were able to get a sneak peek at the flowers they were growing for us specifically for the Rose Parade. My aunt Pam, AKA our Director of Purchasing, is in charge of all the Rose Parade activity, so it was pretty cool for her to get to see her order in the ground.

 

The timeline for the beginning phases of the floats goes something like this:

 

On Phoenix Decorating Company’s end, once the sketch of the desired float is approved, they start working on the materials that will be used to decorate it, whether it be flowers, seeds, grains, vegetables, etc. They then submit the first flower order. Once the float starts to take shape, Phoenix will get a clearer idea of the areas that need to be covered and re-calculate the numbers. Phoenix Decorating Company has a mathematical formula for the products they use and what coverage they get out of each one of them. As the float continues to progress the calculations for materials are re-checked.

On our end, we work to make sure they will get all the materials they need in time. Our Purchasing Department starts working on the order with our farms around mid-June (see, this is a long process folks!) to ensure that we will have all the colors we need, as nobody else wants anything but red and white during December… Merry Christmas y’all!

We always start with pom pons first, which is what we get from Liberty Blooms. These have to be programmed for us because we use so many fall type colors that if we didn’t have them grown specifically for the parade, we wouldn’t be able to find them. Poms usually take about thirteen weeks to grow once they are planted.

Next up is carnations, whose growing cycle takes about 28 weeks, and following that is the rest of the bulk items. During the growing processes, we constantly monitor the crops to make sure they will be on time. By the time our trip rolled around in late October, our poms were small but well on their way!

 

Rose Parade poms in late October

 

Rose Parade Field to Float

 

And here are some photos we just received about a week ago (first week of December).

Quite a bit taller with just a few more weeks to go…

Rose Parade Field to Float

Rose Parade Field to Float

 

And now for the float! The following images show the skeletal structure of the float before any dry material goes on. It all starts with the initial concept and sketch, and from there they start building the bones and mechanics.

 

 

Skeleton structure of Western Asset’s float, “Let Your Imagination Run Wild!”

Photo credit: Matt Lirag – Western Asset

 

Once the structure is complete, the float is painted to act as a guide for all of the dry material and flowers that will later be put on, kind of like a “paint by numbers.” Last weekend they began with the fresh dry decór, like seeds and grains, and fresh flowers won’t go on until a few days before the parade!

 

Phoenix Decorating Rose Parade Float

 

Hope you enjoyed learning about the early stages and planning that goes into these beauties! Keep following the journeys of the float and our flowers in the upcoming weeks – can you believe we’re only two weeks from Christmas, and three from the Rose Parade?!

Colombia Farm Tours

Colombia Farm Tours

 

Oh good, you’re back! If you’re reading this, it must mean my attempt at recapping our visit to Liberty Blooms didn’t scare you off. But don’t worry too much, this summary is more pictures than anything so things should run smoothly. Pictures I can do.

Over the course of our trip, primarily in the Medellín area, we visited a number of other farms to learn how they operate, and see some of the flowers we get from them in their early stages, from the ground, to harvest, to the grading and then finally packing.

 

Stop One: Altagracía

Altagracía is one of the largest Calla growers in Colombia, covering almost 24 acres of production. They grow over fourteen varieties of callas in nine different colors, as well as some colored hydrangea and dusty miller. Not only did we have a great tour of their farm (other than what they swear was their first farm tour in the pouring rain – I must have brought it with me from Seattle, oops!) the girls we work with are so friendly, and we ended up having a fabulous dinner with them and the owner’s family when we made it to Bogotá, filled with delicious food, even better wine, and more than enough laughter. Check out some photos from their farm below!

 

 

Stop Two: Valley Springs

Valley Spring’s farm is nestled in hills of Antioquia, in a town called La Ceja. They grow beautiful white hydrangea, and I have to be honest, I had no clue they could position these fields on such a steep grade! It was, once again, raining, so we weren’t able to walk the entire farm due the mud and steepness, but it was such an unique and picturesque setting that I really enjoyed getting to see a farm set up like that. At Valley Springs we also spent time inside checking out the different processes they take the hydrangea through, like the grading system. Pat even took a shot at grading – how do you think he did?

 

 

Stop Three: Gutimilko

Before our flight out to Bogotà, Andres and Pablo picked us up for our final farm visit in Medellín. La Guadalupana Farm, the main supplier for Gutimilko, is located in La Unión, on a sprawling property. They grow hydrangea, callas and a small selection of other varieties, and also have a cattle business producing milk. Shockingly, we don’t get much milk from them, but we do buy lots of hydrangea! Andres and Pablo are brothers who have grown this farm into what it is today, and we had the privilege of visiting their country home at the start of the visit, which is located on the farm. I was promised a horse back ride next time I visit… Andres, if you’re reading this, I hope you know I was serious about that!

 

 

Stop Four: Aposentos

I unfortunately did not make it out to the Aposentos farm, but Pam braved the Bogotá traffic to visit one of our carnation farms. She had a great time and snapped some shots to share with you guys!

 

 

One of the coolest things about going to these farms before attending Proflora in Bogotá was that we were able to catch up with many of them at the show, as well as dance the night away at the big fiesta at the very end. Not only did I get to see the beautiful Colombian countryside and learn so much about the farm processes on these visits, but I also feel like we formed some great relationships that will continue to grow, and I’ll always have my Colombian family to visit when I inevitably return to their beautiful country.

Stay tuned for a couple more posts wrapping up the rest of our trip!

Supply & Demand – Mother’s Day 2014

Guest Blogger: David Dahlson

All of a sudden the supply of some flowers, especially roses and hydrangeas, has become dramatically curtailed. That is of course unless you want red roses for any number of reasons; then you are in luck, because red roses abound. We are now entering the period when the rose plants that had been harvested for Valentine’s Day are producing new blooms, most of which are red.  For Mother’s Day, it seems that mostly colors are in demand; probably because it is mostly women making the purchasing decisions, whether for their own mothers or for their mothers-in-law.
And if you are looking for some of the most sought after varieties such as Quicksand, High & Arena, Canela, Giotto, Combo or even old-school Sahara it really will be a struggle to get any reasonable quantities.

A simple solution is the dianthus caryophyllus “Creola”. These wonderful flowers are probably not on most people’s radars as they are from the family of oft dismissed carnations. Their casual, loose habit recalls damask rose blooms but it is their color, neutral like Quicksand, with hints of pink, yellow ochre and antique green that make them very much à la mode. They complement a wide range of flowers including antique green hydrangeas. Combine that with their low cost and incredible vase life, and you have a product that can be purchased by the box and kept handy as a stand-by for all kinds of last minute situations.

 

 

And they are certainly not your Mother’s carnations!

Wholesale Flower Product Guide: Dianthus

Dianthus

 

All types of dianthus – including carnations and green ball – have become a staple among floral designers.  We just created a new product guide covering all of the details on these versatile wholesale flowers including some of the newer dianthus varieties that are now available.

 

READ THE PRODUCT GUIDE NOW

 

If you missed last month’s video on carnations, be sure to check it out here.

What is your favorite dianthus?

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