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.
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