- Written by Hannah Dunne
Scented roses as big as your head, absolutely perfect alstromeria, metre and a half long freedoms, Jackson Pollock style spattered chrysanth blooms and the most exquisite antique carnations... just a few of the flowers on display at London's Intercontinental Hotel last week for Colombia's UK showroom.
Twelve growers travelled all the way from their farms in South America and shipped thousands – we mean THOUSANDS – of their finest flowers to adorn the illustrious hotel's ballroom so that a selection of the UK's volume buyers could awe at their impressiveness. Bosses of the nation's biggest wholesalers attended the event, organised by the Colombian Minister of Agricultura, Asocolflores and ProColombia, which aimed to showcase the very best of what Colombia's flower farms have to offer. And boy was it beautiful.
Pictured above: Tatiana Restrepo of ProColombia, beautiful Colombian dianthus and a hand-tied by Tomas Kosen
Grower Matina Flowers showcased a range of roses that can only be described as out-of-this-world, including humungous white Avalanche and Freedoms nearly as tall as us! Milonga Flowers also displayed a selection of beautifully detailed roses, like these pink Fiesta.
Above: careful packaging for large-headed roses and The Florist web-ed, Hannah, with Matina's 1.5m Freedoms
Many of the growers shipped across wraps and wraps of their favourite cars and spray cars. A few of our favourites came from Turflor, Don Eusebio, Colibri and Flores Aurora, including beauties with delicate crimson edging and exquisite gradients of purple and pink.
Love 'em or hate 'em, there's always a place for dyed blooms and those on display at the showroom really were the top of their game. Even acclaimed florist Judith Blacklock said, "Don't you think somehow, somewhere, you might have a use for these?!", whilst clutching Vegaflor's latest painted blooms. We've coined them Jackson Pollock chrysanths owing to their colourful spattered petals.
We also got to witness alstros by Plazoleta, grown in a series called Perfection which can be the only way to describe them with their long, strong stems and delicate petals.
Sylvia, from Ball, is pictured here with her gorgeous ethically-grown sweet williams, cabbages and foliages.
Judith Blacklock's design demonstration wrapped-up the event. As one of the leading ladies of UK floristry, Judith and her team produced a range of stunning designs including a candelabra using a river of dianthus, an arrangement featuring huge-headed roses alongside sweet wills and artichoke and quirky chrysanthemum balls. Whilst Judith used a range of the fabulous flowers on offer, we felt she had a special soft spot for less luxurious varieties like chrysanth and carnations. She said, "Anyone can make £1000 worth of flowers look nice. The skill lies in making £50 worth of flowers fill a room – making a lot out of a little."
Last but by no means least we have to give a special mention to our brilliant volunteers, as recommended by the Floral Angels, a charity who take used event flowers, repurpose them and give to those in need. We'd like to say a massive thank you to Vanessa Birley, Sandy Spearman, Robina Graham, Sally McCarthy, Annie Fong and Rosalind Cheung, who toiled away all day cutting and conditioning the many, many, many boxes of flower delivered specially for the event. It couldn't have happened without them so Asocolflores were pleased to offer the Floral Angels a donation in return.
All hotel staff were invited to come and grab some flowers at the end of the event. We loved watching them make their own bouquets and leave with hands full, happy faces and gifts for loved ones!
InterContinental Hotel staff enjoying their Colombian blooms
Jairo Cadavid of Asocolflores with growers from Vegaflor and Tatiana from ProColombia
Growers from Matina Flowers and Circasia-Vuelven with Sabrina Jaramillo of ProColombia
Article created in collaboration with Colombian Minister of Agricultura, Asocolflores and ProColombia