The Society of American Florists kicked off its 131st annual convention Wednesday in Amelia Island, Florida. To launch the event, the association hosted a flower contest, The Outstanding Varieties Competition, which featured 225 entries from 33 companies, from Florida, Oregon, California, Ohio, Hawaii, Colombia, Ecuador and Israel.
Nine judges, consisting of three growers, three wholesalers and three retailers, scrutinized the flowers for color and commercial appeal, stem and foliage, bloom form and size, and overall presentation.
The scores have been tallied and ‘Brilliant Stars’, a blush and green spray rose exhibited by Connectaflor, won top honors.
“I gave this a perfect score,” said judge Joost Bongaerts, owner of Florabundance in Carpinteria, California. “It has a high petal count, big head, sturdy stem, great presentation, great foliage…I’ve never seen it before but I’ll be ordering it a lot now.” Within four hours of posting a photo to Instagram, he already had 100 likes.
“This was my number one choice,” said judge Roy Houff of the Roy Houff Company in Chicago. “It’s a beautiful, old-fashioned looking spray rose with a great shape and foliage. Plus it has so many laterals that makes it really user-friendly for retailers.”
“The bi-coloring really stood out for me,” said judge Oralia Espinoza, AIFD, of Spring Garden Flower Shop in San Antonio. “Those shades are really popular for wedding work. I could see this next to a white double lily and lime green mini hydrangeas.”
“I love everything about this,” said judge Karen Fountain, AAF. “Every bloom opens fully. The shades are gorgeous. And it’s appropriate for every occasion.”