Did you know that sunflowers always face the sun? Heliotropism is a diurnal behavior of plant parts that move in the direction of the sun. Sunflowers are native to North and South America and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. In greek the word ‘helios’ means sun and anthos means flower.
The sunflower is a large blossom made of a disc and surrounded by ray florets, which are usually yellow, but depending on the variety can be maroon or orange. The head consists of about 1,000 to 2,000 petals. These radiant flowers are cultivated mostly for their seeds and as fresh cut flowers. The seeds are refined to produce sunflower oil, and accounts for 14% of the world production of seed oils. Sunflower seeds have excellent health properties, especially zinc, which is accountable for functions in the immune system. Other nutritional properties include fiber, calcium, vitamin E, iron, and selenium.
At Virgin Farms we generally bring in the mini sunflowers from Ecuador. Sunflowers are popular around harvest time, and especially for Thanksgiving. They symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. When processing your sunflowers, remove the leaves below vase level and cut the stems at a sharp angle. Be sure to use a vase strong enough to support the weight of stem and bloom.
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 (source: www.amystewart.com)
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.
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.
When you receive your roses from Virgin Farms, it’s not just a product. There’s a story to each rose, from the time it is planted in the ground to the time they are harvested. In September we will be visiting the farms to take you on a journey of the cultivation process.
The pictures below are from our visit to Ecuador in 2004. The cool weather and high altitude is what makes conditions optimal for growing robust roses. There is plenty of work involved in making sure the rose plants have the proper level of sunlight, hydration, and fertilization.
Once the roses are harvested, they are transported to a packaging facility onsite. The roses are checked for quality assurance, and sorted by stem length. Employees then package each bunch in protective insulation and cardboard. The bunches are taken by lot into a cooler where it is a chilly 32℉. The cold chain method preserves the roses’ freshly harvested state until it arrives to you. This is why your flowers often look thirsty upon arrival to your shop. Once you hydrate your flowers, they begin to bloom and show off their beauty.
Visit to our Ecuadorian Farms in 2004
We will be sharing photos and live streaming from the farms in September. Be sure to follow us on social media go on the journey with us! Instagram @virginfarms
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 (source: http://somethingturquoise.com/2015/06/04/wedding-styling-with-eucalyptus/)
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.
In 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.
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.
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!
At Virgin Farms we like to keep our product line fresh (literally). When we bring in new varieties we keep you, the designer, in mind by choosing exotic flowers, colors and visual textures. As always, our products must pass our quality test—some of the benchmarks we check for are bloom size, color, stem/bloom durability, and vase life.
This rose has gorgeous hues in orange-red and yellow with spatters on the petals. It has a strong resemblance to volcanic lava, don’t you agree?
If you’re familiar with the white Mondial rose, then you’ll love the Blue Intrigue. It is a “tipped rose”—meaning the edges of the petals are carefully spray-painted, in this case blue. The farms have perfected this method down to a science to create a “color dip” effect.
Purple has always been associated as the color of mystery and royalty. This novelty is actually a white Amelia rose stem-dyed in purple. It absorbs the color from the water and turns a beautiful periwinkle purple with darker edges. Isn’t it enchanting?
Which of these new varieties do you like most, and how would you use them? Share your comments and ideas with us. Subscribe to our blog posts, and check back news and inspiration!
After working closely with the designers at Cultura Interactiva, we’re excited to share the launch of our new website. It has been refreshed and redesigned to simplify navigation, and integrate social media sharing.
After receiving many requests, we will be offering online shopping (coming soon). You’ll have the opportunity to order pre-packaged flower combo boxes or create your own box from available preset varieties. You can choose the shipping date, and receive your order the very next day—same service, with the convenience of ordering online.
Our floral catalog has been reorganized and updated with new photos. Now you can browse by category and color (roses), and the new drop-down menu makes it easier to browse through the spectacular varieties we offer.
Track Your Order
Check the status of your order in the “Track Your Order” tab on our homepage. Just enter the 12 digit tracking number found on your invoice to track the location of your box.
We’re socially connected, and we want to share the behind-the-scenes at Virgin Farms with you. Follow us on Twitter to chat, stay informed, and make networking connections. Are you a photographer at heart? Follow us on Instagram—you’ll see photos of flowers fresh from the cooler, new arrivals, and candid moments around the office. Participate in our Magical Mosaic challenge every week on Facebook. Every week we post a flower concealed in mosaic form—it is your task to guess the correct variety by submitting your answers in the comment box. The first participant to reveal the mosaic receives a prize! You can also connect with us on YouTube and Pinterest (online pinning board) for inspiration.
You can now sign up to receive our Weekly Specials from Holland. Submit your email and begin receiving promotions, discounts, seasonal specials, and get a heads up on new floral arrivals.
We will be updating our blog with interesting floral tips and trends, contests, and inspiration for floral designers and event planners.
In the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, a prince is condemned to a curse for judging an old beggar woman by her haggardly appearance. This old woman presents a rose as a gift in return for shelter. Without a single ounce of compassion, the prince crudely turns her away. Suddenly the old woman transforms into a beautiful young lady, and tells him that true beauty lies within.
To teach him a lesson, she transforms him into a beastly animal and presents him with “The Enchanted Rose.” The prince is to fall in love and find true beauty before he turns 21. In representation of time and youth, the rose will bloom and eventually perish, condemning the Beast to remain in his state forever.
As with most fairy tales, the prince or princess always finds true love and live happily ever after. Luckily the Beast finds Belle, a young lady who teaches him to see beauty from within.
What if you could make the beauty of a rose last forever?
The Eternal Rose is an interesting product we may offer soon to floral design professionals.
The Preservation Process
These roses are grown at the farms and cut once it has bloomed to the perfect diameter. They are then taken to facility and processed to remove the color. When they are translucent, the roses are placed in a tray for the artificial color tinting process. To maintain the rose’s appearance and shape, it is placed in a chamber to begin the “baking” process of preservation. The end result —a rose that lasts forever: An Eternal Rose.
Colors and Sizes
Eternal roses are available in an array of interesting colors. Some look as natural as the real roses such as the Freedom, Santana, Pink Floyd, and Ocean Song. Other colors are more novelty like black, green, baby blue, teal, and midnight blue.
Petite (Diameter 5 cm)
Standard (Diameter 6.6 cm)
Jumbo (Diameter 7 cm +)
Ideas for Arranging and Styling Eternal Roses
You can keep a display of eternal roses in your floral shop for demonstration purposes.
Wedding or Party Souvenirs
Send guests home with an eternal rose as a keepsake of your wedding or event. Place it inside of a glass dome and create a floral terrarium for a rustic appeal.
Most brides wish they could keep their beautiful floral bouquet forever. With eternal roses, the original bouquet can be recreated and kept on display forever.
Seasonal Wreaths & Centerpieces
Unfortunately the holidays are only once a year. With preserved roses, you can arrange a wreath for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other major holidays. Bring them out for the season to display at your shop and show customers the designs you can create.
For crafting projects, eternal roses are ideal. They are dried, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the flower. You can hot glue the rose to Styrofoam or any other surface.
Share your thoughts and Ideas!
We would like your feedback about these preserved roses. How would you utilize them? If we include Eternal Roses in our line of products, would you purchase them?
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.