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

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you David - un-natural blue flowers are just awful. And I've been in love with succulents for awhile now and I'm very excited to see them hitting the main stream hard and heavy!



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