Imagine spending two days in a ballroom perfumed with lilies and garden roses, surrounded by rows upon rows of vases filled with different types of flowers — alstroemeria, dahlias, gerberas, hydrangeas, orchids, just to name a few.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Trust me, it is. This is part of my job, reporting on the Outstanding Varieties Competition, an annual contest the Society of American Florists holds to recognize the absolute best flowers in the market. Flowers arrive from growers all across the country and around the globe for the competition.
Fortunately, it’s not up to me to pick the winner, as all 262 of the entries this year looked pretty outstanding to me. Rather, my role is to interview the judges (nine esteemed members of the floral industry) to find out why they gave certain varieties high marks. What I learned: it’s not all about aesthetics.
Sure, the winners were all gorgeous. But another trait judges evaluated was versatility. And here’s where my job gets really fun: asking professional florists how they would use flowers. They get very animated and spout out ideas in a seemingly limitless stream of creativity. My response after every design they mentioned: “Oh, I want that!” My suggestion: Next time you order flowers, ask your florist what’s in the cooler and what their dream designs with those flowers would be. You’ll be astounded with the range of stylish, customized creations they can propose. Read More