J Schwanke Takes Viewers to Colombia

Fancy a trip to South America?

You can go (virtually), thanks to J Schwanke, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, aka “the flower expert.”

His latest documentary, “The Flowers of Colombia,” a 12-piece series, comes out next week.

J Schwanke at Plazoleta.
Photo courtesy of uBloom.com


The project has been two years in the making. Augusto Solano, CEO of Asocolflores, the association of Colombian floral exporters, approached Schwanke to tell the stories of his country’s flowers. Schwanke has previously done documentaries on the California floral industry and Florida’s foliages.

The title corresponds to Asocolflores’ new brand.

“As we all know, this is a global industry and flowers come from all over the world,” Schwanke said. “I think that’s so cool! Every flower has a story and I

J Schwanke interviews Joaquin de la Torre of Ball SB at Proflora.
Photo courtesy of uBloom.com

want to tell it.”

The series, filmed last week in conjunction with Proflora, a biannual flower trade show attended by thousands of buyers around the world, features a mix of stories. Some episodes include behind the scenes tours of farms, while others were shot at Proflora. Viewers will learn about growing

J Schwanke interviews Eli Perez of Rosamina.
Photo courtesy of uBloom.com

techniques, new varieties, sustainability efforts, social programs benefitting workers and the passion that goes into stem.

“It will definitely show the human emotions involved in the Colombian floral industry,” Schwanke. “It’s fitting, because that’s what florists sell–emotions.”

Schwanke said part of what drove him to create this series were the various factions he’s seen pop up in the industry recently.

“I can’t embrace drawing lines in the sand over a flower’s origins,” he said. “What the industry needs is more flowers in more homes more often. Period. It doesn’t matter where they’re grown–or where they’re sold, for that matter. We just need more flower consumers.”

As with “The California Grown Experience” and “The Florida Fresh Foliage and Flower Tour,” “Flowers of Colombia” will be available for free on uBloom.com and YouTube.

Schwanke said he plans to continue introducing viewers to flower professionals around the world, and hopes to visit Kenya and Russia soon.