Monday, January 31, 2011


Today is day one of my ten day sojourn in Ecuador checking roses for the 2011 Valentine's holiday.
Whilst driving to visit one of the farms I espied this stunning monument to conspicuous consumption at its most visceral. These two golden caryatids sparkled in the sun of a late January afternoon, perhaps a reminder that the rose growers may need to sacrifice their first born in order for the Sun-Gods to be satisfied.
They also reminded me of Rome, and the legend of St. Valentine, who defied a decree from Caesar that prohibited matrimonial services for Christian youth, and joined many young lovers in secret nuptial ceremonies. Beatified by the Roman Catholic church, it was the Victorians who re-invented the St. Valentine concept into the idea of sending amorous cards anonymously to loved ones. This was soon transformed into a flower holiday, which is far more romantic, and the reason why I am in Ecuador.
Most of Ecuador's roses are grown to the north of the capital city of Quito in an area dominated by the towns of Cayambe and Tabacundo; and in the south in an area that is known as Cotopaxi, but which stretches over almost 80 kms from Pastocalle to Ambato. My first day was spent visiting the farms in the south that will be supplying Mayesh Wholesale for this holiday and while I have heard many reports of a harvest coming late, for the most part what I saw in the fields and in the post-harvest was substantially good news for wholesalers and retail florists who buy later than the supermarkets.
As you can see in the pictures there are roses, red roses, in this case "Hearts", waiting to be harvested but this may not be the case everywhere.
There is a good chance that this year's rose harvest appears to be on target to hit a tiny window shipping out of Ecuador almost perfectly. However, I need to reserve judgement until tomorrow when I will get the overview of the farms in the north.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As we approach one of our largest flower holidays, and certainly the most significant as far as roses are concerned, there has been quite a bit of speculation on the quantity and quality of the rose harvest for Valentine's Day 2011. At this point it is still a point of conjecture as only the very first blooms have been harvested for Valentine's Day, and they have not made there way to our shores quite yet. Incredible, even sad, but true! Many of the mass-markets' roses need to get into the logistical pipeline by the 28th of January in order to make their way through their distribution chains to their outlets. 
Mayesh Wholesale, in a concerted effort to assure delivery of appropriate quantities of roses and a commensurate high level of quality  in accordance with the rose buyer's orders, has put a body on the ground in Ecuador for the past 15 years. You guessed it, yours truly is that person, responsible for oversight of rose quality, timely delivery by the farms and programmed daily dispatch by the airline from Quito, Ecuador, to Miami.
As I wrote in December on this blog, it would appear that there will be very large variance in quality from farm to farm, with a lot of product being compromised by disease due to a combination of bad weather and fungal attacks on the plants. As I have said many times before, it will be prudent to obtain assurances from your supplier(s) on the provenance of the roses they will be procuring for you.
All speculation aside, I shall start visiting the farms that will be supplying Mayesh this year for Valentine's Day on Monday 31st of January, reviewing the quality of the respective rose harvests, and ascertaining that the suppliers will be able to fulfill the orders. After a couple of days I will be able to ascertain the quality of roses Mayesh has ordered, as well as the overall situation in Ecuador, and will continue to monitor every aspect of the rose supply as the shipments reach their peak volumes around the first weekend in February, and continuing through until 9th of February.
Starting on February 1st, watch this space for daily updates, weather information, airline issues and just about anything related to the rose harvest in Ecuador for Valentine's Day 2011. Here we go...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


In February, after Valentine's Day my fiancee and I shall be commencing work on a small flower farm. Out intention is to grow novelty products for the cut flower industry. We are selecting plants based on their suitability to the climate in South Florida which tends to be hot and humid, and is classified by USDA as Zones 9-11. The group of ornamental flowers and berries that we have chosen is a mixture of South Florida natives and plants from around the world that thrive in hot weather. Most are tried and true, but others are completely unfamiliar but are entirely fascinating. As such, one that turned out to be a rather miserable failure as a cut flower but which is entirely enchanting is the so-called "Tropical Hydrangea". The name alone drew me to the flower as a moth to a lamp, and this year we finally got some flowers on the trial shrubs. They really are spectacular, but are quite short-lived as flower. They have a rather sickeningly sweet aroma, like cake icing, and produce copious amounts of nectar to which bees are attracted to in great numbers. Certainly, if pollination is required, this plant is a must for any farm, and we intend to plant several around our farm for this reason as well as for the aesthetic appeal of the shrub. In December and January masses of bright pink balls hang from the branches, and so profuse is the flower-set that the boughs bend down. From a distance the flowers look like hydrangeas hanging upside down from the bushes, although closer inspection reveals the florets are like those of a rhododendron although configured like a hydrangea.
Dombeya wallichi is the scientific name for this attractive plant and is named after a certain Josephe Dombey, a noted French botanist and plant collector, but who seemed cursed with bad fortune.
His outstanding exploration, cataloguing and collecting of new species all form important parts of botanical collections in the British Museum, The Royal Garden Collection in Madrid and the Museum of Natural History in Paris. In 1778 the French government sent him to Peru, where he amassed a significant herbarium. In 1780 he sent the collection back to France, but the ship carrying his cargo was captured by the British, who kept the collection, despite overtures from the French government that continue to this day. Josephe Dombey was able to assemble another collection containing some 300 specimens but when it was prepared for shipping the Spanish authorities confiscated it on grounds that indigenous specimens were not permitted export to foreign countries. This collection was subsequently sent to Spain where it formed the basis for a florilegium of "La Flora Peruana" produced for the Spanish Crown by noted Spanish botanists Pavon and Ruiz. As if that was not bad enough, he proceeded to Chile in 1782 where he assembled an outstanding collection of Chilean flora, but on his return to Europe he landed in Cadiz, Spain in 1785 whereupon his collection was confiscated and he himself was imprisoned. Dombey was only able to secure his release after assuring authorities he would not compete with Pavon and Ruiz' work, and even then was only about half of his Chilean herbarium was returned to him.
Such was his reputation for thorough work that he was able to secure a stipend from the French government, and retired to practise medicine in Lyon.
This turned out to be also not fortuitous as Lyon was a hotbed of the revolutionary resistance, and Dombey found many of his patients being removed from his practice and dispatched to the guillotine during the French Revolution. With the assistance of friends within the "Committee for Public Safety" Dombey, was given an important diplomatic mission to introduce the new Metric system to the US congress, with the sponsorship of many luminaries including Thomas Jefferson. He set sail for North America in 1794, yet the same bad fortune that plagued his entire professional life struck again, and even as the prospect of Philadelphia was on the horizon, a sudden violent storm swept the brig he was on down to the Caribbean where Dombey made landfall on the island of Guadeloupe. The governor of the island was still loyal to the French crown and immediately imprisoned the poor doctor. However, many of the townsfolk who were supporters of the Revolution, upon learning a representative of the new French government had been imprisoned rose up and stormed the garrison, freeing Dombey. However, in the ensuing violence Dombey caught a fever and rapidly perished.
It is quite amazing that the USA came so close to adopting the metric system early in its history, especially when one considers the disaffection for all thing British was quite prevailing in the New World. Yet literally, the winds of history blew that opportunity away, and to this day we continue to use a ponderous sytem of measurement based on an English monarch's shoe size that has even been abandoned by Britain.

Friday, January 21, 2011


This week the TPIE show was in full swing at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. In case you were wondering what T-Pie is, it turns out to be an acronym for Florida Tropical Industry Exhibition. I think. Something tropical anyway. It is actually an event that focuses on foliage plants for interior spaces, bedding plants, nursery centers, landscape plants and the fern industry. A couple of things were strikingly evident, namely that A.) succulents are becoming incredibly popular, which is a good thing, and that B.) the color blue continues to take hostages in the world of good taste, and this is a bad thing.
As featured in the Diary last year, the rather awful stem-dyed blue cymbidiums from Holland are enjoying a flurry of appreciation in some parts of the USA. But, as if that was not enough, a process to dye phaleonopsis plants with a rich blue color has been developed by some botanical miscreant in Holland. At the show a company called "The Silver Vase" was touting a new technology to which they had acquired exclusive rights that enabled them to dye actual rooted phaleonopsis plants. Unfortunately the result looked like something from my son's elementary school science fair, and would look right at home next to the bubbling volcano. And definitely a candidate for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Flowers.
I do think that when the so-called arbiters of trends and taste advocate a certain color as being the flavor of the year, restraint should be practiced by the fashion faithful and extreme prejudice and judicious application of color should be considered when using natural materials.
On the other hand, another very popular color that is in vogue is gray, and this was well represented in various hues and tones from a glaucous green-gray through neutral, unsaturated gray to a purplish slate blue-gray in a segment that is enjoying quite a lot of momentum of late; which is that of the succulents. This rather loose, general term encompasses several genuses, notably Echeverria; Aeonium; Sempervivum; and Kalanchoe. They are extremely hardy and incredibly versatile and can be employed outdoors in landscaping, where they are particularly suitable for xeriscapes, and can also be used for interior decoration, in planters and pots. In the cut-flower industry succulents are gaining extensive exposure and are being used more and more by floral professionals for their unique color and decorative rosettes.
And if you don't like the color you can give them the Bornay treatment, of which I am also sceptical. But better than blue phals. Or is that Blue Fails?

Image #1 & #2 - Blue Phaleonopsis plants from The Silver Vase; TPIE
Image # 3 & #4 from TPIE show
Image #5 From Bornay Blog; entry January 11th 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011


In the dark days of the post-Christmas blues, but still a day or two before the credit card statement arrives, there is little to get excited about in the world of commercial cut flowers. Certainly wonderful ranunculas and anemones are available in California and the Empire State, as well as rather expensive imports from San Remo. We can enjoy Cymbidiums from the Northern hemisphere, but by and large we are between seasons and low on dough in January. And it seems to be a global malaise. In fact I can remember when Global was only attached to Village and either you meant that all was groovy around the world, or were  referring to a nightclub under the Charing Cross arches in London. These days, however, it is linked to "meltdown"; "cooling" or "warming" depending on the temperature and if we are not sure we call it "Global Climate Change". When it is placed in front of "pandemic",  "financial meltdown", "aggression" or "fall-out" you know that the topic under discussion is probably Nostradamus and the end of days.
Another topic that is enthusiastically discussed of late is the impending Valentine's Day event, which in itself is going global. Certainly it is too early to tell how it will out, but as I outlined recently in the Diary, I am fairly sure that the overall quality of much of the rose harvest will be compromised.
One bright light in the inventory of late are the rather wonderful "Masja" hydrangeas now arriving from Chile. This is a fairly old dwarf variety that has a capacity to produce many large bold blooms. For a grower this is ideal as these bushes take up half the room of a regular hydrangea shrub but the output is commensurate to a full-sized bush. "Masja" is frequently advertised as red but it is only red in the same sense that some lavender roses are sometimes called blue! In other words it is not red at all. Nonetheless it is a rather fabulous fuchsia/magenta/hot pink, that is fully saturated in rich color, comes in large mopheads, and are just the thing to brighten a dark and dreary vernal afternoon. They are almost completely sterile with just a few fertile florets, resulting in a very intensely colored and uniform bloom.
Available now at Mayesh branches and also for shipping nationwide. For more information click here. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In the first two of the accompanying images on the right we see some fairly unusual materials, namely arundo donax accompanying the artichoke flowers in the first, and francoa racemosa arranged with some bronze spider mums in the second. The designs and the containers are embarrassingly dated but the materials are striking. I found them in a publication by leading American floral designer J. Gregory Conway from the 1953 called “Conway’s Treasury of Flower Arrangements” and I was absolutely stunned by the diverse floral materials he used, many more of which was clearly visible in the pictures and expanded upon in the text. Going back even further in time, in Constance Spry’s “Garden Notebook” from 1940 there is a disarmingly modern arrangement of giant Fennel in plain white vase. (Compare with Christian Tortu’s arrangement of giant Fennel from the late 1990’s shown towards the end of this article.) However, it was upon reviewing the appendices of their respective books that I can say I was shocked to see just how comprehensive the use, awareness and understanding of these flowers was in the 1920’s, ‘30’s, 40’s and early ‘50’s.

A lot of these floral items are hard to procure even today, and in truth, I was dumbfounded. When I first started in the flower business in 1980, virtually none of these items were available at the Los Angeles Wholesale Flower Market, or at florists’ shops. My recollection of the early eighties was that each month there would be a maximum of 15 products available, comprised of roses, carnations, mini-carnations, chrysanthemum disbuds aka “Mums”, chrysanthemum sprays aka “Pompoms”, baby’s breath, statice, glads, anthuriums, which were staples of almost every month, and augmented by seasonal items, that would come and go as the seasons changed.
Starting in the nineteen-eighties, imports started reaching the markets from South America, Holland, and Australia It was also a time when a lot of progressive floral designers demanded new and novel products, and we were prompted to source all kinds of unusual products from local Californian growers. Through the end of the eighties and into the nineties a Renaissance in flowers was under way that continues to this day.
I was intrigued as to why there had been such an embarrassment of floral riches in the first half of the 20th century, and why there was such a dearth of these flowers in the latter half, until reappearing towards the end of the century. This was not an experience exclusive to the United States, but also occurred in Europe and Australia. It is just that the amplitude was greater in the USA. My intrigue became an investigation, and my conclusions show that this massive change (one could say a virtual extinction) in the product mix derives, like many things that have shaped America, from a confluence of socio-economic events occurring in a short period of time. And like most significant deviations in our culture, there was a crucial turning point, a trigger as it were, that precipitated this severe reduction in the variety of floral material that was used.
The 1950’s were an era when the seeds of change were being sown in every walk of life in America. The Sixties clearly bore the fruit of transformation but the changes were well under way in the Fifties. The generation of men and women who had survived WWII, set about rebuilding their lives. Putting that behind them, they were now busy constructing a new, bright and shiny America. Sleek, chrome-trimmed automobiles rolled off assembly lines, providing the mobility to drive from newly constructed suburbs to thronging city centers. In the new homes, sparkling electric appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators were installed to give the modern woman more “freedom”. The new machines “liberated” their owners from tedious manual chores. This generation, with it’s newfound wealth, was ready to embrace each and every new development.

Richard Hamilton’s collage “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” created in 1956 perfectly illustrates the era. Each new development begat another, the spread of automobiles led to drive-in movies, and drive-in restaurants. In 1957 the McDonald brothers started their first drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, and one of their suppliers, Ray Kroc, wanting to know how they were selling so many milkshakes. He flew out to see them and the rest, as they say, is history!                                      In fact virtually every innovation in the fifties was aimed at time saving for the consumer, without regard as to the quality of life.
Just a few years earlier, in 1954, Swanson’s introduced its first TV Dinner. That year, Swanson’s had a massive surplus of turkey after the Thanksgiving holiday, 625 tons extra, and in an effort to find a way to move the inventory came up with the idea of a prepackaged meal that just needed to be reheated. It was a smash hit, selling 10 million in 1955, and was popular for many years. Eventually the “TV Dinner” name was discontinued, but it set in motion the evolution of the “instant” meals that we now have today.
By sheer coincidence, the first block of floral foam composed of phenolic foam (phenol and formaldehyde) was also developed that same year by Mr. Smithers. He had been looking at the arrangement he had sent his wife, and noting her frustration with the way the flowers had shifted after delivery, set about conceiving a medium that would support the flowers.
From these early trials, he developed the ubiquitous Oasis brick. This event is the trigger that precipitated a profound change in the floral industry. It offered solutions to many problems encountered by florists of the day, and it was quick, it was easy and it was fast. However, as much as it solved problems caused by movement and poor construction, it was forgiving to florists who perhaps lacked solid technique and adequate training. As such it quickly enabled “formula” designs to be executed by persons with little formal training. Alas the formulas tended to descend towards the lowest common denominator, and eventually resulted in the “roundy-moundy” arrangements of the seventies; chrysanthemum, carnation, and rose compositions, all trimmed with leatherleaf and dotted with gyp. Or worse, the “poodles” made of mums and carnations!!
The floral foam was none too receptive to the thinner, weaker stems of some flowers, and did not provide enough water to the stems of certain other flowers, as well as fruiting and flowering branches. As such, an unintended consequence of the introduction of foam was that the flowers that did not conform to the new medium were branded as being short-lived, impractical, unnecessary and were condemned to obsolescence.
The parallel direction of the cut-flower business to that of the food industry since the fifties is remarkable, both disciplines regressing, in terms of integrity of products, and both sacrificing their intrinsic values to convenience, speed and ease of production. Flowers lost diversity of products, diminished colors as well as severely compromised aesthetic values. Food similarly lost the diversity of ingredients, flavors were diluted, and overall taste and quality were confused. Towards the end of the eighties, food enjoyed a renaissance which was quickly followed by a revival in flowers. In fact many people in America were starting to examine the state of their cultural, aesthetic and spiritual values and evaluating the quality of their lives.

The changes in the food industry, initiated by people such as Alice Waters, were founded on a philosophy of providing customers with meals composed entirely of premium, healthy ingredients. Organically grown and locally produced old and forgotten varieties of vegetables; dairy products, meats and poultry that were free range, and not fed with hormones; local seafood and so forth, all simply cooked, and beautifully presented. Gone were the sauces, the pretentious constructs, the frozen produce, and instead there was a quality product presented to the customer that appealed to all the senses.
Today, the USA has one of the most vibrant food cultures in the world, and which has trickled down to the kitchens of many consumers. Programs about food preparation are to be found all over the cable networks, and even has two channels dedicated solely to food. Even McDonalds has gone so far as to introduce salads into their menus!

Similarly, the flower business has a new-found appreciation of forgotten and long ignored varieties, and arrangements tend to be far less contrived and much more intimate. Modern, professional designers have better knowledge of care and handling, and the designs they are creating rely on freshness, and consequently, strong color intensity, unusual shapes and forms, and simplicity. More and more arrangements are being done in vases with water, and particularly in clear vases. And the fact is flowers last longer in water. There have been many studies done on this, but when it comes to using only water, as opposed to using correctly saturated floral foam, flowers last significantly longer in the water, all other things being equal.
I refer you to George Staby’s excellent organization “The Chain of Life”, for the statistical analysis, but commonsense tells us that if we are supposed to keep the water free from detritus, bacteria and so forth, in order to extend flower life, it makes no sense to place stems into a dense medium, laden with various chemicals and surfactants. The optimum scenario, at this point in time, is to display flowers in water treated with the correct dosage of flower food. (Please note the italics.)
Floral foam can be a very useful tool, but should only be deployed when there is no other alternative. Of course it is fast. And yes, it is quick; and yes, it makes life easy; but this is the precise purview of the mass-markets, because they cannot afford the skilled labor to create properly constructed and aesthetically pleasing designs, let alone delver them. Their window of opportunity lies in the mass production of rapidly assembled homogeneous products that will function within the parameters of the quality standards and conform to specific price-points designated by the supermarkets, or big box outlets.

The reason that I bring this up does not arise from some lofty idealism or because I do not care for foam. It is because as Floral Professionals, the existence of our business is predicated on the success of our customers. I do not believe that most florists can go head to head with the mass marketers, nor, in most cases would they want to. The large majority of our clients work in high quality niches with a focus on aesthetic design. By developing a methodology that employs the optimum environment for the flowers, the florist will be well-placed to outwit and outlast any onslaught the supermarkets may launch. I propose that the contemporary designer, who is striving to differentiate him or her self in the marketplace, must look to the absolute best methods of presentation and construction for his/her designs and arrangements. New remedies and supports must be created, and if necessary, referring back to how things were done before the advent of foam. And in the act of solving these problems, the very act of creation can, who knows, lead to giant steps in one’s personal advancement of design.

J. Gregory Conway, images #1 and #2 from “Conway’s Treasury of Flower Arrangements”,1953, Knopf
Constance Spry, image # 3, from her seminal book "Garden Notebook" Dent,1940
Christian Tortu, image #4(strawberries) and #10(fennel), from his book “Sensational Bouquets”, 2001, Harry M. Abrams, Inc., NY

Thanks to Pinnacle Food Corporation for their image of the Swanson’s TV Dinner. Image # 6
Oasis is a registered Trademark of the Smithers-Oasis Corp

Image # 11 from the Divine "Miss PIckering"; a bouquet appearing in the UK's "Wedding Bouquets" 2011

Richard Hamilton  "Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?" , 1956 - Image # 5

Friday, January 7, 2011


I can clearly remember when I was a teenager a conversation between my mother and a friend of hers who was in the clothing trade, wherein the friend bluntly declared that denim was soon to run its course in terms of popularity. That was in 1975, and it seems that jeans just keep on going ,and denim may be more fashionable than ever. Clearly the humble fabric used to make tents during the Gold Rush (serge de Nimes and serge de Genes) is part of a long term trend.

In the floral trade the long term trend that shows no sign of abating is the continued strength of flowers that are green, and foliages that are variegated. In New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco the demand for green flowers started in earnest about twenty years ago, and over the last five years has spread into the heartland, as well as around the world. The most compelling argument for the trend to continue for many years to come is that green flowers continue to be strongly demanded in the Left and Right coasts' fashion centers. If the fashion for green flowers was coming to an end one would expect the cycle to be already in decline in the major cities.
For example, green roses, and especially Rosa "Supergreen", which is the premium product in the category, continue to be in very high demand. Yet this is merely at the apex of the flowers that are available in green, and many more cultivars are introduced each year: Rather ravishing are the green ranunculas that will be available this summer, as well as new varieties of chrysanthemums, carnations, zinnias. Stalwarts of the florists' varieties of green flowers such as hydrangeas and hanging amaranthus continue to enjoy very strong demand.
Another color trend that I have seen growing over the last few years is one that features palettes of desaturated colors. I suppose there may be a temptation to dismiss this as an ongoing variation on the pastel colors that have always been popular for weddings and romantic arrangements, but what I have observed is much more subtle than that and very hard to execute to high level of aesthetic satisfaction. And even the pastel colors themselves are used in very light hues and delicate tones. Colors can be described as sandy, beige, light tan, olive dun, lavender-gray, gray-pink, gray, antique ivory, Wedgwood blue, gray-blue, shell pink and flesh. Definitely  not your mother-in-laws pastels!
Pantone presents their "color" of 20012 as "Honeysuckle Pink". The color as presented on their web site is certainly pink, a sort dusty pink with blue  undertones. I often think these colors are selected as much for their name as for the actual color, like the swatches that the paint companies fabricate. Our native Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens is a fabulous blend of pinks, it is true, but also displays apricot, some golden hues and red. Notwithstanding Pantone's rather lacklustre selection, pinks in various hues do seem to be popular, and when the color is realized in fabulous flowers such as "Sarah Bernhardt" peonies, "O'Hara" roses, in Dahlias, Ranunculas and Hydrangeas to name a very few, the effect can be the epitome of romance.
One current trend that I find incredibly tasteless, but which seems to have legs at least through the end of this year is the insertion of "bling' and feathers into bridal bouquets. Shakespeare got it right when he proclaimed that to "gild the lily" was redundant, yet there seems to be a growing segment of society who insist on putting 'bling" into everything. One of the most disturbing things I have seen recently are large live beetles encrusted with gaudy bling to which a short chain is affixed.  This chain is attached to the clothing above the chest and the living "brooch" wanders about your person. Pah-leez!! The parallel trend in flowers seems to have started with the very simple way stephanotis blooms were attached to a wedding bouquet with boutonniere pins, a technique that has been in use for several decades, but has now evolved into a garish and cheap metaphor for the deeply spiritual and  romantic nuptial ceremony. Surely selling yourself does not mean mortgaging one's soul?
A tendency that is diametrically opposed to the bling-thing is that of composing arrangements and bouquets in a way that looks very relaxed and casual, as if thrown together in a vase. However, as anyone who has ever worked with flowers knows, this is an incredibly difficult thing to do and requires unerring skill that usually comes from many years of experience and an innate sense of aesthetic judgement. Many of the materials employed in this trend have an appearance of being gathered from a cutting garden, or collected on a country walk, featuring flowers of various colors, shapes and sizes as well as being of different scales. Fruits, berries and pods are often incorporated, as well as herbs and even vegetables. A knowledge of  appropriate hydration and conditioning techniques are essential, and a mastery of the materials a prerequisite.
The actual arrangements need to be done quickly as unnecessary manipulation of the products can diminish their quality. In many ways this trend is much like modern cuisine found in many restaurants, that depends on superb, fresh ingredients, an understanding of the cooking methods, execution that embodies artistry and skill but all prepared with a minimum of fuss and manipulation. 
One issue raised several times in the floral blogosphere last year; the question of an often restricted floral supply (usually of the items you proposed to a bride several months before) will continue. This is due in large part to the weak dollar that causes all imports to be more expensive, as well as a considerable number of farm closures in Colombia and Holland that continue to contribute to the diminished supply. While in percentage terms that contraction is fairly small, the fact that floral professionals worldwide are chasing many of the same products means that the shortages can become rapidly exacerbated and seem quite pronounced. This year I also believe that the cost of transportation will become an important component of the price, and a factor that will limit the scope and scale of imports by wholesalers. Clearly planning and good organisational skills will be more important than ever, and pre-ordering flowers, a modus operandi that was last actively practiced about 25 years ago will become a factor once again for serious floral professionals. It will be a good business strategy to forge strong relationships with your vendors and actively communicate with them as to supply forecasts, price structures and so forth.  
There are murmurings that carnations will make a come back this year, but I am of the opinion that it will be a few more years until a real resurgence occurs. Certainly several high-end designers are using them now, but for very specific purposes, where they are are generally employed in paint-by-number situations on decorative balls from small to extremely large, as well as to cover walls and flat planes. I do rather like the way Bornay uses them to make petite field-scapes. However, I do not see them being used in arrangements or wedding bouquets for a year or two yet. One exciting development in the Dianthus caryophyllus world is the breeding of a new series of "Antique" carnations that will do much to finally lift the stigma of this ubiquitous flower.
Last but not least, fragrance in flowers, in every type of flower will continue to be an important driving force in the fashion of flowers, for many years to come.

PS - The image is of Cymbidium "Yellow River", which has nothing to do with what I wrote, but just goes to prove that there are no rules in floral design. Cymbidiums will continue to be hot, but you knew that!

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