The cut flower trade is huge and ever changing as demonstrated by this move by Dutch flower industry to trade directly into China.
IN 2013, 14, and 16 I examined the vase life of 69 different cultivars of peonies to see which ones would last 7 days or more in a vase. There were winners and losers, and I was especially interested in which were consistent from year to year. The zero category was mostly ITOH hybrids (starred). The greatest category had 1 of 3 years at the 7 day average vase life. There were only 6 cultivars that were consistent for 3 years. Those 6 may or may not have other attributes that make them lousy cut flowers (short stems, poor yield), but at least in this category they are stars!
I recently gave a presentation to the Alaska Peony Growers Association about my feeble attempts to classify peonies into singles, doubles, semi-doubles, etc. Even the experts in the field often classify them differently, and they can even differ from the breeder! In addition, many of us have seen all kinds of weird development on peonies including plants that have singles, doubles and semi doubles on one plant. The link below is an older video but I haven’t found an updated one. Nevertheless, it provides an interesting geneticists-eye-view of how sepals, petals, stamens and pistils are formed. It is not even about peonies, but a little mustard, Arabidopsis. It’s worth watching. And while you are watching, think weird peonies! Here’s one with all sepals!
A great campaign by the Society of American Florists aims to put a smile on people’s faces by donating bouquets of flowers to strangers, one for them to keep, and another for them to give away. Florists in all 50 states include Bagoys Florist & Home, Anchorage, participated in this event. Lots of smiles out there!
A group of peony enthusiasts had an exploratory meeting yesterday to learn if there was interest in starting an Alaska Peony Society for anyone interested in growing and gardening with peonies. The response so far has been very enthusiastic. This organizations is to promote education and information about gardening with peonies throughout the state. Connect with them through their FB page:Alaska Peony Society
You’d think with the number of years peonies have been growing in China, tobacco rattle virus would have been reported long ago. Not so, according to this article. It seems to be fairly recent and not very severe. Sure wish we could say the same thing in Alaska! It has been imported with the roots. Certain suppliers have more TRV than others. I guess the name of the game is, only buy from suppliers who routinely rogue out the disease before it gets to your fields.
Mike Williams was interviewed recently about peony markets. He said one of the biggest obstacles to the Alaska peony industry is not enough peonies and growers. World markets are in the millions of stems. Alaska is still in the thousands.
This article is not about peonies, but is about a major issue facing peony growers: lack of snow, ice encasement and more. It shows that, at least with tree seedlings, ice encasement is the most destructive force in winter injury. We have not completed anything like this research with peonies, but I believe it, as well as soil ice melting with roots sitting in wet, soggy soils, are the main reasons why roots die in winter. The whole article is available for download online: Snow and Ice
Read the latest survey from the American Floral Endowment. All ages of buyers are Cut Flower Survey
Here are some highlights as summarized by Green Profits Buzz
- Flowers are being appreciated more now by all three generations compared to the 2009 study.
- Local florists are the most widely shopped channel for both self and gift purchases when shopping in person.
- Farmer’s markets, online and toll-free phone purchasing have increased, while discount/chain stores, local florists via phone and home improvement centers have declined.
- Among floral matters, Gen X wants convenience, Millennials “want it when I want it,” and Boomers are traditionalists, purchasing flowers for the reasons you’ve been selling them for years and years—special occasions and so on.
- Fewer folks in 2016 consider pricing to be a barrier to purchasing than in 2009.
- 60% say being a locally owned business is very important when considering a flower purchase at a florist.
The USDA has revised its recommendations for post harvest handling of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and last, but not least, cut flowers. This chapter was written by Dr. Michael Reid and gives a very good overview of everything you need to know after the flower is cut in the field. The list of individual flowers does not include peonies, but the general discussion is great. Also, it might not be too far fetched for Alaska growers to diversity and consider other flowers such as delphiniums some time in the future..
Here is a link to a site full of information on soils and soil conservation. There are lots of webinars, recorded and ones available in the future, that cover everything from transitioning to organic to climate change. It is sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service