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Flower Fact Friday: Dutch Flower Auction

Have ever wondered where did your tulips come from? Well, most dutch flowers such as amaryllis, kangaroo paws, and gerbera daisies are grown in Holland. In the Netherlands, the famed Aalsmeer Auction is where half of the world’s flowers and bought and sold.

The Aalsmeer Auction has been around since the early 20th century. The flowers are housed in a warehouse that is two million square meters. Buyers from all over gather to bid on flowers for the best lowest price. Before the auction begins at 6 a.m., buyers get a chance to visit the cooling rooms to inspect the flowers that will be auctioned.

Dutch Auction Clock

Dutch Auction Clock (source:

How Does the Dutch Auction Work?

At the facility, an auction clock is displayed overhead and a starting price is displayed. The price decreases until the first buyer pushes a button bidding the lowest price. The auctioneer will then ask the buyer how many buckets he or she will purchase at that price. Then the auction continues with the rest of the flower lots.

Technology and Dutch Flower Auction

Today, technology has changed the traditional way of auctioning. Buyers with a license can participate remotely from their computers. Many of the flowers never make it to the auction warehouse, in efforts to reduce carbon footprint and ship directly instead. Improvements to the digital bidding platform allows buyers to see photos, and a description of the length, size and condition of the flowers. The demand for flowers is such that most flowers are already sold before they’re even grown and harvested. This is usually the case around busy holidays in the industry like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

The Future of the Dutch Flower Industry

At Wageningen University near Amsterdam, researchers are working on ways to reduce energy and labor costs. They are testing containers that would store flowers for weeks at near-freezing temperatures. This method would allow flowers to be shipped by boat instead of planes.


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Virgin Farms Garden Roses

Virgin Farms Direct provides a weekly supply of fresh garden roses directly from Colombia. We have popular varieties including the highly sought David Austin luxury cut roses. Access our garden rose posters for reference. Each poster has photos of each variety and indicated the vase life and fragrance intensity of the garden rose.

David Austin Luxury Roses
Colombian Garden Roses

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Flower Fact Friday: Eucalyptus

In the floral design world, nothing is impossible. The more unusual the elements, the more original the design. Even fruits and vegetables have been incorporated into arrangements, giving it an earthy appeal. Herbs like lavender, sage, foxglove, St. John’s wort (hypericum), and seeded eucalyptus make unique cut flowers.

Eucalyptus is native to Australia and Tasmania and belongs to the myrtle family. The name is derived from the greek word “eucalyptos,” which means well-covered. Australian aborigines used the plant as a remedy for fevers, wounds, coughs, asthma, and joint pain. The fragrant oil contained in the leaves have beneficial properties: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and expectorant.

An interesting historical event took place in the mid 1800s. In Algiers, France a German botanist named Baron Ferdinand von Miller discovered that eucalyptus could be used as disinfectant in fever districts. The seeds were sent to Algiers and planted in the marshy regions. The plants thrived and converted the area into a dry and healthy environment, and as a result drove away mosquitoes and prevented the malaria disease from spreading fevers.

There are many types of eucalyptus, but the most popular in floral design are seeded eucalyptus, baby blue, and silver dollar. It is mainly used as a filler in arrangements and bouquets. Eucalyptus can also be dried and preserved as potpourri.

Types of Eucalyptus

Types of Eucalyptus (source:

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Flower Fact Friday: Do flowers make people happier?

Scientific studies show that a person’s mood improves with the presence of flowers. It’s no wonder on special occasions the go-to gift is a floral bouquet. Think of the immediate behavioral response provokes at the sight of the colors, texture and scent of flowers.

In a study conducted at Harvard University, participants reported feeling happier and more positive jumpstarting the day with the presence of flowers. People are usually least energetic in the morning and it is quite common for moods to warm up as the day progresses. Different scenarios were studied to determine the psychological influence of flowers. When a bouquet of flowers was incorporated into the morning routine, participants felt perked up and enjoyed seeing them.

Another study showed that flowers or plants in a home have a positive emotional impact on people. Results conclude that there were feelings of more compassion and less anxiety. Other people reported experiencing a boost of energy that lasted throughout the day. Further observations determined that the best location to place flowers in a home is a kitchen, since it is a common gathering place throughout the day.

Desktop Flower Red Eye RoseIn hospitals, flowers present in the room showed increased well-being among patients. Studies indicate that people were more positive, needed less pain medication, had lower blood pressure and pulse rate, and felt less anxious or tired. Next time you visit a friend or family member, bring them a bright beautiful arrangement of mixed floral varieties and make sure they are aromatic to invigorate the sense of smell.

The color of flowers also determine mood response. Are you experiencing creative block? Studies show that looking at greenery and leafy plants inspired creativity. In an office with plants and flowers, there was better cognitive performance among employees. Flowers with brighter colors and that are next to each other on the color wheel produce a calming effect. Bolder and saturated colors energize people.

In conclusion, flowers in general are beautiful to look at and beneficial for your overall health as scientific studies have proven! Now that you have learned these interesting facts, share it with your customers and let them know that flowers are the perfect gift and remedy for any ailment.

Happy Flower Fact Friday!


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Wedding Garden Rose Guide

Our partners at Alexandra Farms have compiled a Wedding Guide for all the garden roses. We thought this guide would be useful for you all, and in addition it can serve as a look book for your wedding clients. Each page includes photos of the garden rose variety, a description, a photo of progression of the bloom, and if it is fragrant.

At the end of the guide, there’s a comparison chart of varieties by color group. This is a useful visual to compare textures, color variations, and bloom size. Also handy, Alexandra Farms have provided a care & handling chart and some interesting facts to know about garden roses. For instance, they highlight the fact that garden roses are somewhat variable. The same bunch of David Austin Constance garden roses may have different shades–some more pink in the center, while others have a peachy center. This is what makes flowers unique, and it is nature’s beautiful product.

Download the Garden Rose Wedding Guide

Vitality Wedding Guide

Vitality Wedding Guide

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Flower Fact Friday: What attracts pollinators to flowers?

Have you ever wondered what attracts butterflies and other pollinators to flowers? There are three important characteristics: color, shape and scent. Depending on each of these characteristics also determines what type of pollinators visit certain floral varieties.

There are so many floral varieties in the world, and were it not for pollinators like butterflies and bees, more than 100,000 species would cease to exist. Pollination is the process in which pollen is transferred from stamen to pistil, which begins production of seeds and reproduction of flowers.

Floral Characteristics that Attract Pollinators 


Brightly colored flowers attract pollinators, and some flowers have ultraviolet pigments that only insects such as bees can see. Studies have shown that flowers that are red or have stripes attract bees most. The stripes act as a “landing strip” that indicates where the nectar and pollen are found in the flower.


The fragrance a flower emits also has an effect on pollinators. Some flowers are tricky and emit scents that attract certain insects. For instance, the rotten smell of the corpse flower attracts flies. Bees can memorize the shape, smell and color of certain flowers to continue pollinating those varieties. The orchid, Dendrobium sinese, releases a scent that mimics a frightened bee as a luring method.


Some flowers attract pollinators by their shape. Bats for instance pollinate heliconia and utilize the leaves as a habitat. The mirror orchid is shaped like the female sex pheromones of a particular wasp species, tricking the male wasps into mating with it. As a result, the pollen sac rubs off and in an attempt to repeat the same with other orchids, the wasp pollinates other orchids.

Now that you know why insects and birds are attracted to flowers, share this Flower Fact Friday with your customers. Next time they look at their floral arrangement, they’ll appreciate it with a different perspective knowing that because of pollinators flowers exist!

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How to Process Garden Roses

Garden roses are quite delicate. With the proper care and handling you can maximize the vase life. Our partners at Alexandra Farms have provided a useful chart listing steps to process your garden roses upon receiving them.

It is important to remove the inner cardboard, but keep the plastic sleeve on to protect the flowers. Cut the garden roses and place them in flower food. For everyday floral arrangements, your garden roses are ready to use after a few hours of hydration. For event work and special occasions, you should hydrate the roses three to four hours in a cooler. Next, place them at room temperature–this is to achieve the desired bloom stage. Once you are content with the bloom, place them back in the cooler to preserve the roses until you are ready to design.

Visit our garden rose catalog to browse our garden rose varieties. We have a weekly supply of fresh cut garden roses, including the David Austin varieties. Contact our account managers for more information.

Processing Garden Roses

Processing Garden Roses

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Flower Fact Friday: Curcuma

Some of you have probably used Curcuma in your floral arrangements. Did you know that this exotic flowering plant also has medicinal and herbal uses? Also known as the Thai Tulip, Curcuma is native to Thailand and Burma. The have upright colorful bracts, usually pink, purple or white that resembles a lotus flower.

Despite the fact that it is called a ‘tulip,’ Curcuma actually belongs to the zingiberaceae family (ginger). The root of the plant is ground up to produce turmeric spice, which is considered a superfood with beneficial health properties. Turmeric has also been used as an alternative natural pain reliever. The active ingredient, curcumin, helps to treat arthritic pain, lower cholesterol, and relieve headaches. Although there is still not enough evidence, research has proven that curcumin has antioxidant properties that helps combat the production of inflammatory cells that play a major role in cancer development.

Curcuma is a very reliable and resilient plant for the garden or as a cut flower. The stems are sturdy and can last over two weeks, which is ideal for floral designs. Curcuma varieties are seasonal, available from April until October.

Curcuma Cut Flower-Virgin Farms

Curcuma Cut Flower

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Flower Fact Friday: Celosia

Celosia in greek is ‘kelos,’ which means burned and refers to the brightly colored floral head. There are different types of celosia: The Plumosa group have upright flowers and are feathery-shaped, while the Cristata type have intricate ridges that resemble a brain. The flowers are wooly in texture and are usually bright yellow, pink, red and orange. Celosia is native to Asia and Africa, and it is part of the amaranth family. They are typically available during the summer, fall and spring season.

Did you know celosia is used as an herb in some countries? In Nigeria, the young stems and flower heads are used in stews or as a side dish. The leaves are said to taste like spinach. Although there are no proven scientific facts, Celosia is said to have beneficial health properties. It has been used to treat eye conditions and intestinal ailments.

As a cut flower, celosia can last for about two weeks. The bright colors make it especially attractive for bouquet work. They are a particularly great addition to the garden since they attract butterflies.

Celosia Cockscomb

Celosia (cockscomb)

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Flower Fact Friday: Kale

Kale is also known as ornamental cabbage, and it belongs to the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower family. The leaves are flat and broad with contrasting colors. Kale grows best between October and November in full sun. They thrive in cold weather, and an interesting fact is it affects the color of the leaves. When temperatures drop blow 50 degrees Fahrenheit, shades of pink, purple, red and violet emerge.

Historical Origin of Kale

Kale Brassica is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. More than 2,000 years ago, ancient Greeks cultivated the leafy green, and it has been documented that they boiled it to cure hangovers. Julius Caesar consumed kale before royal banquets to prevent indigestion. As early as the first century, “coles” arrived from Britain and France via the Roman Empire or the Celtics. By 1669, kale made its way to America via English settlers.

Flowering Kale



Prepping Kale for Floral Design

The use of decorative vegetables and fruits in floral designs is very common. It adds an interesting twist to an otherwise common bouquet, giving it an organic appeal.

  1. Peel outer layer of the leaves one at a time.
  2. As you peel, twist the stem and continue all the way around.
  3. The result should be a perfectly formed rosette.
  4. Cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife.

Suggest a variety for us to feature on Flower Fact Friday. Leave a comment naming the variety, and we’ll write about it. Stay tuned next week!

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Flower Fact Friday: Heliconia

Did you know Heliconia is a tropical plant named after Mount Helicon and is derived from the greek word ‘helikonios’? In Greek mythology, Mount Helicon was the seat of the Muses, which were said to remain young and beautiful forever just like their god, Apollo.

The species is native to the tropical Americas. Heliconia is usually found in rainforests or in the wet tropics, and they flower during the rainy season. There are over 40 species and most have brightly colored bracts usually red, yellow and orange variations and have a waxy texture. Some heliconia plants have upright bracts while others dangle, referred to as hanging heliconia. Common names for this plant are lobster claws, wild plantains or bird of paradise.

They are mainly cultivated for ornamental purposes and landscaping, but in their natural environment heliconia provides ecological sustainability for living organisms. For instance, the flowers produce nectar attracting pollinators including butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats. The Honduran white bat in particular cuts the side veins of the leaves to make a tent-like structure for shelter. For other aquatic organisms, the bracts collect water forming a habitat.


Tips for Designing with Heliconia

Heliconia are a stunning addition to floral displays, adding height and a refreshing tropical vibe. As cut flowers they do not continue to develop, so avoid stems that are dried or with black spots. At Virgin Farms, we keep tropical flowers in a separate room at a warmer temperature. These varieties are sensitive to cold temperature, and should never be stored below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before designing, cut three inches of the stem under water with a sharp knife. Place heliconias in warm water with floral food, and allow two hours before designing with them. For extra support, use chicken wire to hold the stems in place in floral foam.

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Jules Elie Dutch Peony

What a spectacular transformation from bud to blossom!

Jules Elie is a rosy-pink peony and its bloom characteristic is bomb shape. It has a few rows of guard petals on the outer part, and smaller feathery-shaped petalodes bunched in the center forming a perfect mound. The foliage is a crisp dark green contrasting beautifully against the vibrant pink blossom.

This particular variety holds its shape well and blooms slower, which is great for vase or bouquet work.

Jules Elie dutch peony

Jules Elie dutch peony

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