International flair was in the air at World Floral Expo held in Texas at the Dallas Market Hall, March 20-22. Exhibitors totalling just under 40 organizations hailed from many parts of the world including Ecuador, Colombia, Holland, Thailand, Canada and the United States. There was also a presence of farms from Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
Popular with novices and long-time experts alike, a themed, hands-on design session was presented each day. Participants proudly took home their floral creations. Flower expert J Schwanke, chief executive of uBloom.com, gave two presentations. Wednesday’s session was on Flower Trends for 2019, and Thursday’s presentation was about the creation of his new series for PBS and CREATE television called Life In Bloom.
This was the first time World Floral Expo was held in Texas. “We are pleased with the show this year, and exhibitors seemed very happy,” says Dick van Raamsdonk, chief executive of HPP International Exhibitions Group, the WFE producer based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Jet Fresh Flower Distributors Inc., of Miami is a family-owned and operated importer, distributor and grower of fresh-cut wholesale flowers. Celebrating 11 years of business, this festive group created a quad-view exhibit featuring color-blocked rooms where the walls and all objects within were painted one color. This clever and thought-filled approach spotlighted the fresh flowers strategically placed in each room – fulfilling the exhibit’s theme of, “ Living In Color.” The magenta bedroom featured a bed of roses in varying shades of pink. The kitchen displayed a massive arrangement of yellow flowers bursting from the matching painted oven. The blue bathroom, complete with a blue toilet resplendent with color-coordinated flowers was popular with cellphone photographers. And the bright green home office, complete with trophies on the wall and a computer on the desk, presented an abundant floral display including hanging emerald Amaranthus, Bells of Ireland, Green Trick Dianthus and Cymbidium orchids.
“Our theme this year originally stemmed from the quote by painter David Hockney who said, ‘I prefer living in color.’ This really resonated with us. By using the flowers as a medium, like paint to a canvas, we were able to focus on the theme and design first, and bring in the floral elements after,” explains Ryan Black, marketing/media director of Jet Fresh. He says the feedback from the show was 100 percent positive. “Attendees from Baby Boomers to Gen Z’ers all loved the installation equally. It was fun how every person had their own opinion on their favorite room and color.”
Positioned up front, everyone who entered the show saw the Jet Fresh booth, and most people could not resist snapping several photos. Posting and posing for pictures happened all three days. This was an attention-grabbing effort cleverly pulled off by a floral team known to think big. For retailers, this extreme approach might be too intense – no blue toilets in the floral department – but the merchandising effort for this show paid off in numerous ways including the inspiration of many Instagram posts. Jet Fresh set out to have fun and inspire floral purchases. “Our mission was to inspire, spark some creativity, to stand out and invite people in,” explains Black. Mission accomplished.
Despite so much attention on international displays, show attendees did not miss out on seeing California products. CalFlowers, the California Growers & Shippers Association based in Capitola, had its own pavilion in the middle of the show. The association’s mission is to strengthen member businesses, provide industry leadership and foster fresh flower sales and enjoyment through research, education, logistical support and promotion. Every two years, CalFlowers hosts a Fun ‘N Sun Convention in Santa Barbara to help its members gain access to suppliers, buyers and other participants in the industry. The elaborate event, which includes flower farm tours, a golf tournament and educational sessions, is scheduled this year for July 24-27.
FRAGRANT AND VOLUPTUOUS
Garden roses are fascinating, fragrant, alluring and not just for weddings. Show attendees followed their eyes and noses to the most fragrant and voluptuous floral booth at the WFE – an exquisite exhibit by Alexandra Farms. This Miami-based company, with farms in Colombia, is said to be the world’s largest grower of garden roses. The wide range of colors and fragrances enthralled show guests who were treated with new garden rose varieties.
Three new varieties in the company’s David Austin brand collection include Effie (Ausgray), a creamy white variety with inner tones of yellow, apricot and orange; creamy white Ella (Auswagsy) and Eugenie (Ausimage), a white garden rose with a touch of blush apricot in the center. According to Teresa Schafer, communications manager, The Ella and Eugenie roses were previewed internationally at the IPM Essen trade fair in Essen, Germany.
Japan is the country of origin for several of Alexandra Farms’ new introductions, including Princess Meiko (Prosperous), which is a vivid pink dressed in rounded, layered petals. The Princess Japanese Garden Roses collection also includes the new Princess Hitomi (Beautiful History), which has enticing inner petals that roll into hearts. The cotton candy pink garden rose features outer petals that form starry points.
Schafer says the new varieties from the Wabara line of Japanese garden roses, bred by master breeder Ken Kunieda of Rose Farm Keiji, are Hiyoli, in blush colors from shell pink to pure white; the refined, elegant Misaki, in cool pink and white; and Shilabe, which is pure white with an inner touch of vanilla. “WFE attendees seemed especially taken by Princess Meiko, with her stunning ruffled petals and beautiful color,” says Schafer, adding, “Tsumugi is very popular with her blush pink color.
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