Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Four Non Blondes

When it comes to pink roses these days, the choices are overwhelming, with several roses vying for each and every hue, tone and shade. And trying to maintain a library of images that is current and provides a reasonable facsimile of a variety, given the variances in computer monitors, as well as reflecting the subtle differences of a rose coming from different farms, is no mean feat!
Here are four pink roses that are fairly recent introductions into the US market.
The first is a delicate blush rose that resembles a classic throwback of the 70's and 80's; the "Bridal White". The outer petals are a very light cream but the heart of the rose is infused with a shell pink. This rose is called "Bridal Akito" and features the hardy characteristics of the parent Akito but in a romantic blush tone which develops in intensity as the rose opens.
"Engagement", shown in the second panel, has been around for a few years now, but was largely shipped to Russsia and Eastern Bloc countries. With exchange rates starting to favor US markets, more of these roses are coming to the American markets.
It features a very homogeneous color throughout and remains more or less the same color as it opens.
It is a mid-pink with a hint of salmon, and features a rather old-fashioned high centered petal structure.
Of late there have been quite a few varieties that have what I would call an "Antique Pink" look, such as Magic Mocha; Melanie; Geraldine; Peppermint and the rose featured here; "Eos".
The petals are infused with rather cool tones of pink and the guard petals are somewhat green, especialy at the edges and frequently has some mottling much like an antique hydrangea. Inner petals towards the heart are a little warmer.
Last up is one of the new series of Finess roses, namely "Pink Finess". This rose tends to be somewhat higher priced than many other roses, but the impressive vase life and fabulous petal disposition that is revealed as it opens actually yields a product that represents great value for money.
The petals are packed densely like a peony, but they unfurl slowly and deliberatley, and eventually result in a well developed flower that resembles a garden rose. Color is a rich deep pink, infused with rather erotic flesh tones in the center. Guard petals are agressively tinged with green. Very strong and hardy rose.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dish on Dendro

With the spotlight on Thailand, I though it appropriate to post some information on Dendrobium, which is the principal flower that we purchase from that country.
It seems that the rioting and urban warfare has been suspended while an accord is worked out that is acceptable to both sides. However, curfews continue throughout Bangkok and the surrounding provinces.
We all hope that peace will return to this spiritual country as soon as possible.

Dendrobium, as we know them in the commercial cut flower trade, are incredibly popular due to the fact that they can be deployed in a wide range of design situations; they have attractive flowers; they come in a range of pastel colors and jewel tones ; and they are very attractively priced.
If you ever go on vacation to a sunny locale with azure seas and white beaches, more often than not the local Tiki bar sertves up attractive frou-frou drinks with little parasols, fruit garnishes and dendrobium flowers.
Health tip: Ask the bartender to hold the floral highlight. Moreover, one should never use these flowers to adorn wedding cakes or any other foodstuff targeted for human consumption.
These orchids are grown in very humid sub-tropical zones, generally outdoors, perhaps with a little shadecloth providing the only cover, and where pesticides are obligatory to maintain the level of insect-free criteria required by USDA. Generally wherever the dendrobium are grown there is a high incidence of chewing insects drawn to these enticing flowers.

Dendrobium is family of orchids that numbers some 1,000+ varieties whose original habitat is a region of southern Asia and the South Pacific that ranges from India in the west to Fiji in the east; from Southern Japan in the north to New Zealand in the south. They are also widely dispersed from sub-tropical sea-level environments to the temperate climes found in the foothills of the Himalayas and the mountains of New Caledonia.
Of the many hundreds of species only about 170 have been used for hybridization, and most of these for esoteric plants. With respect to the commercial cut-flower market; barely thirty species have been used in the hybridization of new varieties. Most of the cut Dendro are derived from three principal dendrobium species and an early hybrid from 1929, namely Dendrobium phalaenopsis; D. Nobile; D. bigibbum; and D. "Louis Bleriot".
If you have been in the flower business since 1980 you will recall the ubiquitous D. "Pompadour", which continues to be cultivated to this day. This was developed in Australia in the late '60s and was then cultivated extensively in Thailand in the '70s and '80s. The real explosion in dendrobium culture was the application of meristem tissue culture, which allowed for the dvelopment of millions of plants in just a few years. Before the 1980s such a rollout would have taken decades, which is why orchids remained the exclsuive domain of plant collectors and orchid enthusiasts.
The dendro we use in our work come from a limited group that are called "soft-cane", which refers to the thin long stems that the flowers are borne on. In actual fact most dendro are borne on thick, woody stems, with the flowers borne more compact racemes, with a wide range of color, many featuring variegations and alternate colored striations. Another attribute missing from commercial dendro is that of fragrance, an aspect that I expect to be introduced into the hybrid culture within ten years.
But for now, we hope that Thailand enjoys once again the peace and serenity that these flowers are so often associated with.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's Goin' On?

OMG - here we go again, another social upheaval that threatens to turn into civil war!
It just seems that war is soooo 1968 and we need to get to 2000-and late! Now!! In a hurry.
(Apologies to the BEP's.)

Just want to wish all our good friends, suppliers and growers in Thailand some Serenity and Peace.

As you may, or may not, know 90% of the world's dendrobium orchids come from Thailand and should the civil unrest continue it seems the supply could become quite limited.

Certainly there is a perception in the rest of the world that Thailand is a dangerous place to visit at the moment, and consequently tourism is shrinking rapidly. This impacts the supply chain of orchids as most of these perishable items are shipped via air. With limited flights now going into Thailand, there are only a few aircraft to export flowers out.

Presently, roads around the city of Bangkok are open, and most of the unrest is confined to a square mile in downtown Bangkok, where government forces have isolated 5,000 protesters. However, it seems the protesters have a lot of support in the countryside, and rural areas in general, which could affect farming disciplines if the unrest continues and
the foment grows larger.
We certainly hope that it does not and that there is a peaceful resolution.

It seems such a shame that as advanced a society as we think we are, we need to resolve solutions through violence and bloodshed.

I think Marvin Gaye really expresses the sentiments best.
Photo montage by Albee07
Photos (top to bottom)
1. "Wellcome (sic) to Something";
sign over a house in Bangkok
2. The Amy's Orchids Family with Patrick Dahlson
and Pamela Uranga
3. Rare red orchid "Azima"
4. Pamela Uranga with Mr. Soonthorn, who bred the first blue Vanda; V. "Princess Mikasa"
5. Amy's cousin holding up Mokara "Buffalo Orange"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Horton Hears a "Say What?"

"Green Trick" is a fairly recent addition to the dianthus family, in that it is a man-made hybrid developed by Ball Seed Co. Clearly it is very much in fashion, as all things green continue to be very popular. Add to that a rather impressive vase life, compact orbicular heads and stiff, upright stems and Green Trick is a must have for every florist.
Here is an item that can be bought in bulk, stored dry for several days and stored wet for a couple of weeks and can be used in a very wide range of situations. In arrangements, as a filler or a focal flower; in bouquets; little sprigs can be used in boutonnieres; it can be used as a substitute for moss, tucked in low in vases; and so on.
What exactly is Dianthus "Green Trick"? Well we shall have to turn to our little leprechaun who lives in the flower heads.
Actually, he is a French cousin of the little people who is called Monsieur Bill.
And his explanation, after numerous Dubonnets, is as follows (translated):

"Alors, as you can see, I live in a place that has a texture very reminiscent of grass, and indeed the little spikes are comprised of a large amount of chlorophyll. In fact all these little tufts are mini-calyces which are barren of any flowers at all. There are NO flowers - rien de tout! This hybrid has been engineered to be bereft of flowers and is essentially sterile. Imagine, if you will, Sweet William with all the little flowers removed, and then you would see the similarity.
Et voila - c'est simple!
Au revoir!
And with that Monsieur Bill is off to the pot of gold - at the beginning of the rainbow!
These French are so contrary.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

She's a Rainbow

“The Calla Lily looks like a flower designed by Tiffany-

Like a piece of handmade vellum cut and rolled by a sculptor.”

Katherine Whiteside from her book “Classic Bulbs”

Wretched is the appointed name of the Calla Lily: While Linnaeus gave the nomenclature "Calla" to these flowers, they were quickly moved out of this category and classed as Richardia, which name they endured until the sunset of the 19th century and finally ended up being called Zantedeschia.

The new colored callas are delightful, stunning in color and vigorous in habit, and are largely derived from hybridization of the Zantedeschia species of Z. Rehmannii and Z. Elliotana. Too much tongue twisting trivia! And way too much Latin! Calla Lily is simply so much easier to say and so much more apropos.

Mayesh Wholesale features the entire spectrum of colored callas from Black - "Schwarzwalder"; "Hot Chocolate" - to White -  such as "Crystal White"; "Crystal Blush"
...and every imaginable color of the rainbow (except blue!!) in between! We feature new hybrids as they are introduced as we have relations with top breeding programs in Ecuador, New Zealand and California.

Please ask your sales associate or go to our on-line shopping site, here.

Varieties depending on availability, supply and demand.

Zantedsechia hybrids featurd here (from top to bottom):
"Red Pulse"
"Pink Panther"
"Passion Fruit"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Afterlife of a Peony

In the pantheon of the world’s greatest plants, the Peony must surely be one of the best. And certainly, if you were to displease the Gods atop Mount Olympus, you could do worse then be turned into the Peony. For then you would be truly immortal!
The story of the Peony in Greek mythology climaxes in a real clash of titans, and while Paeon, after whom the Peony is named, lost his dispute on earth, he certainly emerges triumphant in the afterlife.
According to legend, Paeon was a lowly shepherd who tended sheep on the foothills of Mt. Olympus. However, he had an overwhelming interest in herbal and plant remedies, and in due course became a noted medicine man. He soon became apprenticed to Asclepius, one of the greatest healers of the Ancient world, who, as it turns out, was also a son of Apollo. A part of the Greek mythology relates that Leto, one of Zeus’ wives and goddess of the moon came down to earth an showed to Paeon that certain parts of a plant growing on the lowlands bordering Mt. Olympus were highly valuable as a medicine. Through his experiments with the curative powers of Peony plant parts, he was able to prepare some medicines with analgesic and sedative attributes. In time, the medicine Paeon prepared became to be in great demand as women found that it could alleviate the pain of childbirth.  Paeon’s fame spread throughout Greece, and his services came to be in great demand, even in the courts of the ruling class in Athens. Paeon went on to become a noted physician and is mentioned in The Iliad by Homer as being able to staunch the flow of blood from grave wounds incurred on the battlefields of the ubiquitous Greek wars, and thereby saving many lives.
As Paeon’s fame spread, it really irked his mentor, and Asclepius eventually became so jealous that he plotted to murder the contender to his position. As so often happens in Greek mythology, this dispute came to the attention of the gods who sought to resolve the conflict.
Asclepius, himself a demi-god, and therefore immune to Olympian justice, could not suffer the wrath of one of the God as it would lead to a clash of Titans. Yet Paeon had endeared himself to the deities, and to Zeus in particular, who, not wanting to see this popular physician murdered, turned him into the plant that bears his name to this day;Paeonia or the Peony.
Today, in our world of cut flowers, Asclepias might be good for attracting butterflies, but the Peony reigns as one of the supreme flowers of all time, tempting humans and healing hearts.

So much for Greek mythology!
Nonetheless, the flower goes through a stunning metamorphosis during life; from the tight, small buds, which unfurl into absolutely magnificent flowers. And even approaching their final senescence, just as I was about to throw out the shattering blooms, I found an intrinsic beauty in their calyces.
I stripped all the petals away, until the hardy green calyx and some firm sepals remained, yielding an inflorescence that resembled a cross between a green helleborus and a delicate mountain orchid.

Images (From Top to Bottom) :
Calyces of Duchesse de Nemours
Calyces of Edibus
Corona of Edibus
Two views of calyces and very strong inner tepals of Baroness Schroeder
Calyx of Festiva Maxinma

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day

Wishing everyone a wonderful Mother’s day; however I do rather hope that all the Mothers out there are fêted by their loved ones. It’s been hell’s bells around here up until Wednesday, with hundreds and hundreds of boxes being shipped out to all parts of the USA with the Mother-lode (as it were) heading to California.



1). Roses are becoming more and more popular for Mothers day and this year, due to a confluence of disparate events, were in short supply. At the end of April of course, the Volcano with the unpronounceable name blew up in Iceland, striking countries like Ireland, Holland and Germany again, having already driven several of the respective countries banks into bankruptcy. Now ash carried by wind currents closed airports in the UK, Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Flights could neither leave nor land and as a result global shipping of flowers through these countries ground to a halt. As soon as airports were re-opened a surge of orders from Europe for Roses, Carnations and so forth from Ecuador and Colombia initiated a cycle of shortages from which we still have not recovered.

2.) Because of the sharp increase in flower commerce conducted through mass-markets and websites where the ability to supply thousands of homogeneous items depends on reasonable quantities of an item, it is logical that commodities like roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, gerberas, selected lilies and gypsophilia make up the bulk of flower designs in these marketplaces. And a natural outcome of demand for such ubiquitous items is that supply runs very low. This is the main reason for the tight market in my opinion.

3.) A sense of burgeoning yet cautious optimism in the country seesm to have encouraged consumers to celebrate a very important figure in their lives; Mom!


On behalf of all of us at Mayesh Wholesale, I do wish each and every one of our great customers, as well as all visitors to this site a stupendous Mother’s Day.

In my observations perhaps there is a wee gift of prescience, as perhaps this flood or roses to the mass markets may well be a signal that this flower, which is so amazingly and deservedly popular, may have started down the road to over-saturation that carnations embarked upon some twenty years ago. The capitulation by florists to use other flowers in the face of an intense commoditization by the mass-markets lead to almost total abandonment of carnations by many designers and the upshot of which resulted in the closure of many farms or a total switch to rose-growing.

Tip: Look to other flowers this summer that are not so easily mass produced and marketed to provide distinct value and product differentiation for your customers.

Lastly, I leave you with another look at peonies, almost full-blown, redolent with their own sweet nectar emanating from the ovaries, the contents of which made Paeon so famous throughout Ancient Greece. According to Greek mythology, Paeon, who was a lowly shepherd, found that the seeds of peonies had very strong analgesic qualities and his medicine became much in demand in allaying the pains of mothers-to-be during childbirth.

Leeks and Tomatoes

The humidity is rising to very high levels in Miami, and fast approaching the blazing summer temperatures. Some days relative humidity is 100%, which is indistiguishable from rain!
The garden is yielding  its final bounty before the heat shuts everything down, and it is still sweet and delicious. My girlfriend and I continue to enjoy diverse varieties of tomatoes, the last of the green beans, basil  and parsley. Tomato varieties pictured here are "Roman Candle", with amazing streaks of yellow on red. Inside they are a deep red with a fairly sweet flavor. Also Orlov's Gold, which is truly fruity in taste, and a White tomato whose name was washed away. (Note for next year - Black Sharpies don't cut it in Miami rain.) We love the parsley for chimichurri but also because the Black Swallowtail loves to lay eggs on the leaves,and soon we will have these gothic flutterbys flitting through the garden.

We still have a harvest of various chili-peppers to pick as well as the sweet capsicums to look forward to, and this week I pulled up the baby leeks. Delicious quickly
sauteed with olive oil and garlic.

And what could be better than David Austin roses in a bouquet? David Austin roses in my garden. They are finally blooming in the sub-tropical climes of Coral Gables!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery of a poorly outfitted militia of some 4,000 Mexicans under the leadership of General Zaragoza Seguin that was able to outwit and defeat 6,400 well equipped, professional infantrymen of the French army at the historic Battle of Puebla on that day in 1862.

The 5th of May is not, in fact, Mexico’s Independence Day, which is September 16th, but a minor holiday that is celebrated in Puebla and in just a few parts of Mexico, but which in the USA it has taken on the patriotic proportions of St.Patrick’s Day, and has become a reason to celebrate Mexico by ex-patriots and US citizens alike. Like the Irish holiday, it has also become a reason to party and imbibe massive amounts of beer and tequila.

Clearly, the USA as a mature country has grown and excelled in spite of massive waves of immigration from just about every corner of the world, and it is the comingling of cultures and races that gives our country its plurality, tolerance and continues to strengthen the pillars of democracy. Food, culture and religion from every part of our world have all found their way into the rich tapestry that is America.

Therefore, while I have no answer to the immigration dilemma, our continued survival as a vibrant and legitimate democracy depends on how we treat immigrants to our shores, and that we espouse the values of the Christian nation, that we purport to be, when advocating solutions.

Oh yeah, and the food is awesome too.

Pues….un Feliz Cinco de Mayo para nuestros hermanos en todo lado!
Y no chupas tanto!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wild and Perfect

Exquisite creations resembling that exact moment when a conjuror transforms a starched handkerchief into an animated cockatiel. Neither cloth nor bird, these magical confections are Peonies, delicious at every turn of their all too brief existence.

Festiva Maxima
Festiva Maxima, another view.

Chi Fen

Jules Elie

Baroness Schroeder


“…with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,

their eagerness,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are

nothing, forever?”
From “Peonies” by Mary Oliver

Peonies are now in season!

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