‘Tabledance’, a pink OT hybrid lily from Green Valley Floral took top honors in the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition held this week in Maui, as part of the organization’s annual convention.
Growers around the world vie for the coveted title each year, shipping boxes of their most prized product, which are displayed in a ballroom for the duration of the convention.
A team of nine judges score each entry based on color and commercial appeal, stem and foliage, bloom form and size, and overall presentation. Judges evaluate specific categories of flowers; the highest scored entry of each wins “Best in Class.” To provide a range of perspectives, the judging panel includes three growers, three wholesalers and three retailers. The judges collectively assess these winners, naming ‘Tabledance’ the best of the best.
“We’ve been trying to reclaim the title since 2009, when we won with ‘Balance’, a gerbera,” said Mary Bossuot, Green Valley’s marketing coordinator. “It’s a very versatile lily,” she said of ‘Tabledance’. “The blooms look beautiful, even while closed—they have a dark pink bud—and they become a breathtaking ‘translucent’ pink once they open.”
Judge Joost Bongaerts, CEO of Florabundance, Inc., shared why he rated the lily highly. “It has beautiful, upward-facing petals. It holds its color well. Its fragrance isn’t overpowering,” he said. “Great commercial value!”
I’ve covered Outstanding Varieties for five of the last seven years and it’s always an extraordinary experience—especially when circling the tables filled with lilies or garden roses. (I’m a sucker for fragrance.)
Alas, this year I couldn’t swing a trip to Hawaii, but I got to experience the competition vicariously through Jessica Cosentino’s video coverage on Facebook. (Thanks, Jessica!)
Note: Her video reached more people than just estranged floral industry writers; it also gave customers a sense of how many flowers exist and what florists look for to pick the best of the best. If you find yourself in a similar situation, start filming!