fb-OV-roomshotEvery year, the Society of American Florists holds one of the floral industry’s biggest flower competitions during its convention. The last Outstanding Flower Varieties Competition this past summer attracted 36 flower growers from across the country and around the world. They exhibited 254 types of roses, chrysanthemums, bulb flowers, gerberas, alstroemeria, carnations, potted flowering plants and decorative foliage. With nearly 5,000 flowers in one room, it was an amazing sight!

A panel of floral experts evaluated the blooms on a range of criteria including color, commercial appeal, bloom form and size, and overall presentation. The panel choose the best flower in 11 categories and had the difficult task of crowning one Best in Show. Convention attendees voted for their favorite and gave it the People’s Choice honor.

This is the first in a 3-part series showcasing these outstanding flowers, starting with roses.

Roses are the most popular flower in the United States, and there are hundreds of varieties of roses. At the last Outstanding Flower Varieties Competition, there were 125 types of roses, and four received Best in Class recognition.

Best In Show and Best Spray Rose: Demure and dainty, ‘Blushing Parasol’ is the name of the multi-tonal sweetly fragrant and frilly spray rose that won the top honor. Its romantic look makes it a perfect match for brides, and its hints of pink, peach, yellow and cream complement an array of wedding color palettes. It’s also a lovely flower for Valentine’s Day or any time to say, “I love you,” and it looks gorgeous as a corsage or hairpiece.

‘Blushing Parasol’ - Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

‘Blushing Parasol’ – Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

Best Rose: Celebrate friendship and happy occasions with this cheerful yellow rose called ‘Bikini’. Pair it fashionably in floral arrangements with purples and limes, or oranges and reds.

Bikini - Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

‘Bikini’ – Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

Best Garden Rose: This is a different looking rose, and I mean different in a good way. Named ‘Houdini’, this garden rose has an eye-catching green center, and petals with fantastic ruffles and a delicious salmon color. Brides could look at ‘Houdini’ as an alternate to ranunculus or peonies. It’s a great choice to send to someone who likes something “different.”

'Houdini’ - Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com)

‘Houdini’ – Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com)

Best Potted Flowering Plant: ‘Pretty Party’ mini potted rose has a trendy almost neon color. Its fun name makes me want to send a ‘Pretty Party’ to my mom at work for Valentine’s Day, Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, her birthday or just because.

'Pretty Party’ - Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

‘Pretty Party’ – Photo Courtesy Betsy Hansen betsyhansen.com

What do you like most about roses, and why?

This is the first in a three-part series.

Read the second in the series, “Four Outstanding (and Pink) Flowers in 2015.

Read the third in the series, “Three More Outstanding Flowers in 2015.

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