Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Street Vendors’ Songs Inspire the White Collar Crowd

The head of an Indian business consulting firm bases his new sales training on the techniques of a flower seller in Bangalore.

Business trainers have tried just about everything. But the new, new techniques feel tired after a few months’ exposure.

Now the Star of Mysore (India) reports on “Sonet-lu-miere,” a method that uses theatre, song and story to bring lessons home.

“Real life incidents, conflicts, interactions picked up from factories, offices and fields are dramatised into 10 to 15 small capsules using light, music, dance and stage craft and presented by a group of enthusiastic and experienced theatre personalities and professionals.”

imageStreet vendors


Photo: Ravindra Nayak

Sonet-lu-miere’s designer, G.S. Lakshmiprasad of HRM Consultants, Bangalore, says that he developed the idea after watching a busy—and successful—neighbohood flower vendor working on the streets.

“I observed his techniques closely. He used to sing songs on different flowers, explain the intricacies of each flower, cut jokes with passersby and that ignited my thoughts,” Lakshmiprasad said.

“Isn’t your entourage very huge and expensive?” the Star of Mysore asked the business guru.

Lakshmiprasad: “Of course, yes; but it is needed and the overwhelming response is keeping me buoyant still!”

GAR-DEEE-NYAHS for your LAY-dee LUV!

Posted by Julie on 12/02 at 02:42 PM
Culture & SocietyCut-Flower TradeSecular CustomsPermalink

Pretty Without the Poison

In Europe and South America, a half-dozen companies have been marketing organic flowers on a large scale for a decade. Are U.S. buyers and brokers ready to kick the pesticide-herbicide habit?

Most Americans want their glads and roses tall, impeccable and, of course, cheap. Growing for a national or international market, how’s that possible? With pesticides.

An article in emagazine profiles Gerald Prolman’s effort to mass market organic flowers through a company he’s called Organic Bouquet.

Because the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t regulate pesticides on flowers but “U.S. Customs will reject a whole shipment for a single insect,” the $16 billion cut flower business here is dominated by poisoned merchandise.

So what? Here’s what:

“Flower workers pay a heavy price. In Ecuador, the second-largest exporter of flowers to the United States, 60 percent of workers suffer from headaches, nausea, blurred vision or fatigue, according to a 1999 study by the International Labor Organization. Doctors in Cayambe, the rose capital of Ecuador, confirm these findings and add birth defects, sterility and miscarriages to the list.”

Prolman believes that American consumers are ready to wake up and “start thinking not only about their own health but also that of workers and ecosystems around the globe.”  Since 2001, he’s been working with Whole Foods Market and several other companies to develop Organic Bouquet.


The Arnoskys’ gladiola field, Blanco, Texas

Photo: Texas Specialty Cut Flowers

Actually, the organic flower business was initiated and has been kept alive by small-scale growers. Whether Organic Bouquet succeeds or not, the truth is that with a little bit of looking you can probably find beautiful organic flowers in your own city or town right now. Here in Austin, Texas, we enjoy the bounty of Pamela and Frank Arnosky’s Texas Specialty Cut Flowers. The Arnoskys sell their zinnias, gladiolas, sunflowers, and 50 other varieties through the farmers’ market and other local outlets. Their flowers are fresh—and spectacular.

The Human Flower Project looks forward to visiting their Blanco farm in ranunculus season.

Posted by Julie on 12/02 at 10:09 AM
Cut-Flower TradeEcologyPermalink

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Seasonal Affective Disordered?

Northern-Hemispherians may be rediscovering their appetites for starch as the days get short. For some perspective on your current state of illumination (or lack thereof), check out this marvelous World Sunlight Map.

(I came across it at a blog of blogs:

Posted by Julie on 12/01 at 03:16 PM

‘Kiwi Taste’ Savors Mythology and Purple

Judges and visitors at the 10th Ellerslie Flower Show see New Zealand gardening striking out in bold new directions.

“‘I’ve never seen anything like that anywhere in the world,’ said judge Gordon Collier. ‘It’s very South Seas.’”

Collier and the other judges were dazzled by the flamboyance and originality on display at this year’s Ellerslie Flower Show. This is the exposition’s 10th year. The five-day event takes place at Aukland Regional Botanic Center, in Manukau City, New Zealand.


Gold Star Winner: Stevenson Garden Zone

designed by Leo Jew

Photo: Martin Sykes, New Zealand Herald

Entries included three allergy-free gardens, a mythological maze based on Maori legend, and purple, lots of purple.

“In the earlier days of Ellerslie we saw much more safe, traditional English designs, but the New Zealand character is truly showing through now.” So said British judge Julian Dowle. “These gardens have created an identity. They’re not English, American or French - they’re very individual and very New Zealand,” Dowle remarked.

(Here’s a complete list of winners.)

The Human Flower Project has had visitors from 40 countries. We want to know, “What distinguishes gardening where you live?” We hope to explore further the idiosyncracies and character of New Zealand gardens, and Norwegian gardens, Brazilian gardens, Hungarian gardens, Korean gardens, too. Please, let us hear from you.

Posted by Julie on 12/01 at 10:38 AM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapePermalink
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