Monday, August 30, 2010


"Butterflies and Zebras, and Moonbeams and Fairy Tales" go the words to the classic Hendrix lament "Little Wing".

Perhaps whomsoever coined the name for this variety was not only aware of the old commercial hybrid tea rose called "Zebra", the first rose that was streak'd with vertical daubs of color in a popular combination of hot pink and white, and but also the song from "Axis: Bold as Love".  Or maybe it is just a fanciful coincidence.
Zebra was quickly followed by "Henri Matisse", also an hot pink/white combination, and more recently the Intuition series from French rose breeders Delbard, the latest of which is the "Orange Intuition". However, "Butterfly" seems to be in a league above these other varieties, especially as the color combination is so appealing, but more significantly because this rose opens, revealing the wonderful variegation for all the world to see.

Intriguing new rose, with limited supply, we think Butterfly will be very popular for autumn collections.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eye Candy

Here in Miami we rarely see the wonderful items that they get in California, as we are mostly involved with the importation of flowers from South America. However this week we received our first shipment of Viburnum from Wisconsin. Of course, at this time of year it is not the fabulous :Guelder Rose" or Snowballs, with their generous spherical flower heads, but it is  from the same family. Whereas the Guelder Rose, aka V. opulus 'Sterile' is in fact sterile and produces no fruits, its cousin V. opulus 'Compacta' is loaded with glossy, vitreous berries of dark and strawberry red. Great item for fall arrangements or just massed on its own.
Eye candy for florists!

If you feel the need to indulge please contact the
Mayesh Shipping Department here

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


On Wednesday nights there is a show on Discovery Channel that we love to watch, featuring an ultra-nerd who is very cool; one Professor Brian Cox. He is the emccee on a terrific show called "Wonders of the Solar System", which lays out how really magnificent and interrelated the whole universe is. Each week he takes us up to the skies and beyond and demonstrates a different aspect of the solar system by relating it to geographical features on planet earth. Brian Cox also happens to be a secular humanist, which is what I consider myself to be, so that is also very cool. We are not alone.
Milky Way is a new rose which is a very pale cream, almost white, but not; if you know what I mean. It has a slight hue of a peachy-pink, very similar to Vendela. However there is good news and bad news...Good news first. The flowers open up lavishly, oftne with double and triple hearts, whorling like eddies in a river. The overall effect is one of massed balls of silk brocade or fine damask. Exquisite.
The bad news is that after a few days some of the petals get bubbly and seem dry, much like Rosita Vendela does, or on occasion Vendela. It seems to be a genetic feature. Sort of  ashame, but if they were used for wedding work the effects will be breathtaking.

Monday, August 23, 2010


And here is Esperanza, almost two acres of this special rose! The quality and consistency manifested in this shot clearly demonstrates the influence of tender, loving care, as well as good management in concert with the technology and steps described above. Now we just have to get them to market. This really is a labor of love.

The roses are harvested individually, one by one, and are set at the end of the rows in a plastic mesh. These plastic meshes containing the roses are rolled up and transported by mono-rail to the post-harvest facility. Understandably, with a plantation covering some 24 acres, carrying the roses to the processing center requires a method such as this that will not stress the flowers, nor unduly compromise the employees’ ability to deliver the roses in the best of condition. These monorails run the length and breadth of the farm, all terminating at the central warehouse.At the post-harvest warehouse, the roses are unloaded from carts and placed in the receiving tank while the varieties are prioritized for processing. This tank will normally contain a solution with a fungicide and/or a bactericide. The roses are then placed into large buckets of water, and taken into post-harvest, ready for grading. The post-harvest center comprises a long room with a conveyor belt running down the center. On one side are the stations of the personnel who bunch the roses. Positioned next to them is an associate who grades the flowers. The grading is done with a variety of parameters in mind.

Firstly, all roses that are not of export quality are immediately remaindered, and set aside for the domestic market. Then the stem lengths are measured and placed on a rack ready to be bunched. Simultaneously, the grader assesses the cutting point as suitable for one of three markets.
The very open roses are selected for Russia, the ones with a medium aperture set aside for the United States, and the tightest blooms allocated to Europe.
Mayesh Wholesale is of the opinion that new roses with high petal counts, such as Esperanza, actually benefit from being cut more open. The color is richer, the petal structure better developed, the head size appreciably larger and the overall performance is superior.

The people making the bunches select stems from the rack, again with a particular marketplace in mind. Russia and Europe are packed in bunches of twenty, and for the USA and Canada in bunches of twenty-five. Note the mirror in the picture, placed so that the individual can closely monitor the uniformity of the bunch.
The completed bunch will have a label affixed to the wrapper that indicates name of variety, stem length and number of stems in the bunch. This data is also encrypted in barcode form on the same label. Then the rose is placed on the conveyor belt and travels to the post-harvest inventory.
At the end of the conveyor belt, the roses are collected, the labels scanned by a bar-code gun and then the freshly made bunches are placed into buckets of water, arranged in the warehouse by geographical destination. Technologies such as bar-codes greatly assist the grower as the available inventory is being updated immediately upon completion of each bunch. In the fast paced world of fresh flowers, this is extremely valuable, as sales can start promptly thereafter.

The buckets of roses are then placed in coolers where they will hydrate for 24 hours, before being packed into boxes ready for their journey to a destination thousands of miles away. The roses must hydrate for a minimum of 8 hours, and the general practice in Ecuador is to leave them overnight. Without proper hydration in a professional solution, the roses will not be stable enough to survive the trip. Any advertisement that claims to deliver roses from Ecuador one day after cutting is guilty of making false representations. All roses from Ecuador destined for Mayesh Wholesale are flown exclusively on UPS Air Cargo. Although they are somewhat more expensive than other carriers, they are the only airline out of Colombia and Ecuador that offer a scheduled service that is adhered to. UPS is consistently reliable, and thus a program of just in time shipments can be coordinated. As you can imagine for fresh flowers, and roses in particular, this rapid transfer of cargo from cooler to cooler is essential.
In Miami the freight is received by our logistics company, where it is pre-cooled, sorted, and loaded onto temperature controlled trailers. These trailers are contracted through various refrigerated trucking specialists, to expedite their movement from Miami to Los Angeles. The journey is 48 hours, and the trucks run virtually non-stop, driven by two-man teams. The temperature is maintained at a constant 34 degrees, and during the trip the roses are exposed to an ethylene inhibitor call “Ethyl-Bloc”. This product slows down the transpiration rate of the flowers, and significantly lowers the ability of the roses to generate ethylene.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the roses are distributed to our various locations, and ultimately are sold to you, the customer. And so, this Odyssey of the Esperanza, this journey of Hope is almost to its conclusion. And yet, incredibly the new form the roses take, at the end of their life, whether as a wedding bouquet or as a “Thank You” gift, they give new life, they inspire dreams, and they renew hope.

So the next time you adjust the blooms, rotate a rose into position, turn another to its best aspect, and conclude the assembly of a bridal bouquet, pause to contemplate all the dreams that the bouquet represents, not only the ones of the person who will carry it, but also the ones of the people who grew it.

For to be without love is a terrible thing,
But to be without hope is to be dead.


Many thanks to Renato Teran, and the entire team of Agricola El Rosario located at the Hacienda Ortuno. The roses are marketed under the name of AgriRose.

Many thanks to DeRuiters Neuwe Rosen for creating Esperanza

Friday, August 20, 2010


One might be tempted to think of Hypericum as a rather staid, floral item. like yesterday's cold mashed potatoes, but breeders have been making refreshing developments in the size of the berries, the amount of buds on the corymbs and the diversity of color. These days the colors run the gamut from red to orange, through yellow, green and even white!
A mere ten years ago the products could not be imported into the USA, but in 2001 the USDA allowed the importation of the "fruits" of the Hypercium plants and the  torrent of hybridization seemed to have started at about the same time.
At first there was only the "Excellent Flair" a rusty brown which is now known to the world as "Dolly Parton" and as such has enjoyed a new lease on life.
Then came "Pinky Flair" and a few others in the "Flair" series. Hilsea Farms in Ecuador introduced several hybrids  including some attractive green varieties such as "Green Condor".
Then came the "Magical" series, which featured a lot of new, prime colors such as yellow and orange, as well as the first whites. However, some of the cultivars were rather prone to rust as well as the berries being somewhat small.
Recently a new series from Global Plants BV, a breeder based in Holland has introduced the "Romance" line of Hypericum cultivars which offers interesting colors, a good size of drupes and deep green healthy foliage.
 I have featured some of these before, but here is a look at the most recent additions; from top to bottom are "True Romance"; "Blushing Romance" and "Cool Romance".
"True Romance" features a tomato red color, in that it has a hint of pink underneath the skin, and features very large, glossy fruits.
"Blushing Romance" has an abundant amount of  terminal corymbs on each stem with a very subtle apricot-pink color.
"Cool Romance" is a delicate white drupe that looks as though  it were created from fine porcelain, with slightly translucent berries of a tone that would go perfectly with "Patience" garden roses or "Crème de la Crème".

"Fine Romance "is a classic song from a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie called 'Swingtime'; interpreted  by Frank Sinatra.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010


As you adjust the blooms, rotate a rose into position, turn another to its best aspect, and conclude the assembly of a bridal bouquet, pause to contemplate the dreams the bouquet represents, and wonder about the person who will carry it to the appointed place where her betrothed awaits. You imagine, perhaps, that there will be a moment before the marriage when time practically comes to a standstill and your client will clutch the bouquet to her bosom, thinking of her new life, new opportunities and adventures. The door opens and her story starts, full of hopes and aspirations. This story ends here, but it begins much like the bride’s, full of hopes and aspirations, but a few years earlier.

This is the story of all roses that are grown as cut-flowers, but it is also the tale of one very special rose, called “Esperance” or “Esperanza”, the former a French word, the latter Spanish, but both meaning “Hope”. The journey of our rose begins on a farm in Ecuador. Situated at an elevation of almost 11,000 feet, high in the Andes, is the rose plantation of Agricola El Rosario. In the background, surrounded by clouds is the famous volcano of Cotopaxi. Before one single rose is harvested there is a considerable amount of work and forethought that must go into it. The best roses need good soil, with the requisite alimentation, good drainage and precise fertilization. Therefore the land must be prepared properly, with protection against inclement weather, while allowing for high levels of luminosity for the rose plants. The greenhouses in Ecuador were formerly constructed with wood, but analytical studies demonstrated that the amount of timber required prohibited a significant amount of light from reaching the plants. Today the greenhouse structures are engineered and prefabricated from steel to provide sufficient strength to withstand gale force winds and hail storms, as well as a minimally impeding the amount of light reaching each plant. In fact, as well as the design of the greenhouse, technology predominates in every phase of growing a rose, from plant spacing, irrigation, computerized fertilization. A new rose is planted out in one of two ways, either by planting “mini-plants” or more commonly done, by grafting the “eyes” of the desired variety onto rootstock. A mini-plant is a young plant that has been growing for 3-6 months, and come mostly from the breeders in Europe. The “budding eyes” are the little tumescent swellings you will frequently see where a leaf joins the stem. Because the new hybrid varieties are quite delicate and do not form strong roots, they are grafted onto roses with known strength and performance. These roses are called rootstock, and the most frequently used variety today is R. “Natal Briar”, a few on R. "Manetti"  and occasionally R. canina. In this series of images are Esperanza roses that have been grafted on to rootstock. You will see here and there a few stems that are bent onto the ground. These are the stems of the rootstock, and provide the necessary photo-synthesis for the new variety to develop. This technique is called “bending” and was developed in Japan. As you can see most of the plants have developed, thrusting strong “basal” stems upwards. It is only the plants that are slow in developing that still have the rootstock leaves attached. Another shot of  plants of about nine months, showing roses being sprayed for potential diseases, especially fungii. Here you can see the plants have developed considerably and have produced two or even three basal stems. A good, conscientious grower will now spend up to a year developing the structure of the plant. The grower will be sacrificing potential production, and revenues, in order to create a plant that will give a consistent yield of high quality roses in the future. The object is to create an urn shape featuring 4 or 5 strong canes. All roses are cut and processed by hand, which is incredibly labor intensive. This farm, called “Agricola El Rosario”, comprises about ten hectares, or 24 acres. There are approximately 650,000 plants producing on average about 20,000 stems per day, which is no small feat when you think that each flower, as delicate as it is, has to be cut, hydrated, processed and bunched.
Renato Teran, owner of “Agricola El Rosario” inspecting the first flush of a new variety.
Mayesh Wholesale is proud to be working with farms such as Agricola El Rosario, Producnorte and Evergreen. These rose plantations recognize not only that best farming practices necessitate good stewardship of the precious resources of the environment, they also must shepherd their most important asset, their employees. The workforce is predominantly female, of indigenous origin, and mostly descended from the Incas. For hundreds of years the Incas have been ostracized from Ecuadorian society, living separately, almost like the “Untouchables” of India. Within their society, the women have further been living in bondage bowing to the dictates of their macho traditions. Because his workforce largely comprises of young women, Renato Teran provides not only three square meals per day, doctor consultations three times a week, but also daycare for the children of the employees. Clearly this is not entirely altruistic, as these measures ensure a ready, willing and able workforce, but it does show an understanding of life, and that everyone needs to be nurtured in order to have a chance to realize their dreams and aspirations. It gives the children to grow under proper care, with proper nutrition, and it gives the women an opportunity to earn a living, knowing their children are safe, and try to escape from bondage.
“There is hope. Si ay esperanza!”

Part Two of "2010: A ROSE ODYSSEY" will be publiushed next Monday 23rd August

Many thanks to Renato Teran, and the entire team of Agricola El Rosario located at the Hacienda Ortuño.
"Esperanza" is a classic pink rose bred by De Ruiters

Thursday, August 12, 2010


....That which we call light crude would by any other name smell as sweet! with many apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, poet and playwright, but clearly a name is very, very important.
It would not be appropriate to call a Home for the Elderly "Auschwitz" or even "Guantanamo" no matter what one's private opinion might be of such a place; so which wag decided to call the deep-sea oil field in the Gulf of Mexico which has been plagued by the BP disaster, "Macondo"?
"Macondo" as you may, or may not, know is the mythical town in Colombia conjured up by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his classic novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Macondo is a town that experiences several generations of human beings, which blossoms in the jungle, enjoys a technology boom and then nature unequivocally strangles the town. It is  in essence a microcosm of a "Banana Republic" whose greatest triumph is the introduction of the epitome of the technology of the era, an impressive but irrelevant railroad. The whole endeavor is doomed from the start.
The story would surely have been familiar to whomsoever the executive was who came up with the infamous and unlucky nomenclature for this disastrous project. How could the name have ever been approved?
When will the suits ever learn that life imitates art!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'M JUST MAD ABOUT SAFFRON (...and Saffron's mad about me)

Frequently, we have flowers in the office that are generally part of a vase test, usually to check vase life, or if it is a new variety to observe its characteristics, how it opens and how well it lasts. Most of the time the items on display do not whet one's appetite or even raise an eyebrow, but there are thrilling moments when a flower is observed in a new context or something rather special is exhibited. Today I enjoyed one such rare moment as a fairly new rose called "Gelbe" was on view in various vases around the office. "Gelbe" seems to be a corruption of the German word Gelb, which means yellow, and a more incisive, definitive choice for a name could not have been chosen. Truly an invigorating, Good-Day_Sunshine kind of yellow illuminated the room with its brilliant color. But it was the comportment of the blooms with their rather generous amount of petals  slowly reflexing that was so beguiling. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of "Gelbe" is the deeply scalloped edges of the petals, which is reminiscent of some classic garden roses.
"Gelbe" has that deep yellow you get when preparing crocus anthers in warmed white wine prior to using in, say Bouillabaisse; a yellow that is strong with just a hint of red. Certainly not a 'Mellow Yellow'!
Is there a trend here? Given the rather awful rose names that have surfaced of late could it be that breeders are keeping it very basic. First Gelbe; and next maybe "Amarillo"? or "Jaune"? Simply use the color of the rose, but use the word from another language. "Galben" - that's Romanian.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Well, I have been away on holiday, a concept usually associated with recharging one's batteries. However, I went to Orlando with my nine-year-old son (soon to be ten) who kept me on my toes and who left me physically exhausted. But I loved every minute of it!! We skipped the Disney experience this year and went to Sea World and their allied water park called "Aquatica". Temperatures were soaring, with blazing sun in the mornings and tropical showers in the afternoon, so the water activities were ideal for keeping cool.
Even though we are in a midst of a severe recession, one would be hard pushed to know it at the theme parks. Both SeaWorld and Aquatica were packed, and prices for every conceivable add-on were, in my opinion outrageous. By the way , if you are planning to go to Orlando, don't underestimate the not insignificant parking fees. It is amazing to me that these are not highlighted on the websites. Water was the best value at $2.80 per 12oz. bottle. And we drank plenty of them due to the extreme heat. Every day was an SPF 50 day!
Nonetheless we had a blast, and we really enjoyed our last activity before returning home which was a round of miniature golf at the "Pirate's Cove Miniature Golf Course", located at the Crossroads. Awesome,and educational; that is, if you like pirate history which I do.
Did you know  that Blackbeard's name was Edward Teach? And that he liked to go into attacks on ships with a lighted fuse cord sparkling in his hat?
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