Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It seems the Christmas season is in full swing, and even down here in Miami, Florida, a cold front has brought very chilly but seasonally appropriate weather. When one is bundled up with sweaters, jackets scarves and hats one can't but help feel in the mood. Christmas lights adorn many of the houses, along with a trend I could do without, which is that of the inflatable lawn decorations. In Miami there are clearly rivalries developing as to who can have the most inflatables in front of their house. I suppose the owners mean well but they are hideous. And large. But hey, its Christmastime.
In the floral industry many people are busily engaged in selling hard goods and Christmas greens, trees, wreaths and garlands. Cut flower sales are somewhat limited at present, but over the next couple of weeks sales will increase. Unfortunately, the focus is entirely on red and white flowers, which is somewhat perverse, because flowers come in all colors and hues, and consequently there is a dire shortage of some flowers in these two colors with correspondingly high prices, and an almost criminal oversupply of pastels tones and bright primary colors. But hey, its Christmastime.
One thing that always becomes scarce at this time is the supply of red roses, and this year is certainly no exception. This is because demand is very high during this time, and it also coincides with the "pinch" of the red rose plants by growers for the Valentine's Day holiday. (For an explanation of the "pinch" see article below). Combine the high demand, with the Valentine's pinch and sprinkle in the rather inclement weather in Colombia and Ecuador, and we may see red rose prices rival, and even surpass, those of Valentine;s before the season is out. Varieties such as the currently popular "Freedom" and the august "Forever Young" are extremely scarce so you may want to look at some other, lesser known varieties. This is also a good opportunity to familiarize one self with new red varieties prior to V-Day as well.

Last week I did a vase test on "Red Paris", a recent introduction from Dutch breeder OlijRozen. First impressions were that it is a very robust product, with excellent stems and strong, but graceless, peduncles. The thorns are quite prominent, especially lower down, and do need to be cleaned with care. This rose will not fail you in terms of arching or bending stems, nor even drooping heads, provided the flowers have been properly hydrated. The rose itself opens in a promising way, but stops at about halfway from what I would consider a full reflex. "Red Paris" is a rich dark red, with a glossy, light velvet finish, and very reminiscent of First Red. It would appear to a very useful rose for production work, as it is strong, but it lacks the grace and flair that I look for in a flower.

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