Guest Blogger: David Dahlson
Last night was the last large load to go out for Valentine’s Day 2013. From hence forward the roses move to various destinations in the USA where it will be the turn of wholesalers, distributors and their clients to work the long hours. My work with regard to the holiday is pretty much done. Yesterday and today I spent visiting two distinct aspects of Ecuador; the old and traditional as well as the new and modern, which I shall write about in the next few days. I also went to a few farms, and was particularly struck by one plantation that is growing Eryngium Alpinum and Ranunculus.
The Eryngium is a new hybrid that has very stout stems, with upwards of four flowers per stem. When the flower is mature it displays a remarkably strong, deep indigo blue inflorescence with deeply cut ornamental bracts. According to the grower the vase life is excellent, with up to two weeks in the vase after it is received by the florist. Eryngium is originally an Alpine flower grown at fairly high altitudes, and in this environment in Ecuador where they are grown outdoors, the plants look very healthy. The flower is also very attractive in an immature state with green flowers and bracts that are lighter green striped with an almost white hue in the middle of the bract. This product looks very appealing and Mayesh should be seeing some samples some time in March.
At this same farm, they are also producing Ranunculus which also look like an attractive product and they will have year round production. They use bulbs imported from Biancheri in San Remo, Italy, and the flowers that I saw in the greenhouse show promise of being a very useful item for the USA markets especially when the Californian growers are done for the season. The color palette is broad, but largely focused on pastel colors, as well as red, purple and hot pink. These will be available as the California season comes to a close in April.
At this farm, the grower showed me some new rose varieties that had an interesting twist: Most of the modern rose varieties used for cut flowers are developed by breeders located predominantly in Holland and Germany, however an Ecuadorian breeder called Santiago Brown has started breeding roses in Ecuador. So far the roses that I have seen are not that striking, although they seem to be very strong. One that is pictured here called “Nina”, is a superior upgrade to the old Red Unique, with very long stems. It is currently very popular in Russia.
So there it is, another holiday passing by, and I am none the younger for it. However, I think I may be a little wiser and that is a good thing. Certainly, I have found it useful to keep an open mind on all things that cross my path. In closing this post, it seems poignantly appropriate to end with an image of the tractor hauling Mayesh’s roses to the airport, a truck that the owner has aptly named “Seductor” or in English “Seducer”!!