Human Flower Project

Cut-Flower Trade

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Horticulture’s Carnies

Plant experts get extroverted: the horticultural trade shows of 2011 have begun.

image‘Step right up! See the new fungus-resistant variety of black eyed Susans!’

By Allen Bush

Carnival Hortus came to Baltimore the first week of January. Hundreds of companies, devoted to anything resembling green, showed-up at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) to woo customers at the Masterpiece of Tradeshows®. Charge cards were nearly tapped-out, and lines of credit were shrinking fast, but thousands of attendees were walking the hard concrete floors of the Baltimore Convention Center thinking the sunshine felt closer. This was a hot house of optimism with spring, and positive cash flow, three months away.

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Posted by Julie on 01/13 at 04:25 PM
Cut-Flower TradeGardening & LandscapeSecular CustomsPermalink

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Taipei’s Expo: Blooms for Gearheads

An international flower show opened this month in Taipei. Real flowers will come and go, but these mechanized blooms should (with spare parts) endure for the full five-month run.


“Burst,” a mechanical flower installation by You Wen-fu

on view at Taipei’s International Flora Expo

Photo: Reuters

For members of the press, anyway, the big hit at Taipei’s International Flora Exhibition appears to be mechanized: artist You Wen-fu’s “Burst,” 3.5 tons of faux blossom. In this video, in hangs like a chandelier and then fluffs apart to a girlie-voiced soundtrack and description (?) over a loudspeaker. (We can’t tell if the flashing lights on ‘Burst’ come from cellphone cameras or a strobe, but this is NOT your garden variety anything.)

Other mechanized attractions of the five-month expo include “leaf shaped speakers” inside the Pavillion of Dreams, a setting which “transforms visitors into beetles.” That does sound like fun! We’ve always wanted a carapace of our very own.

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Posted by Julie on 11/23 at 11:22 PM
Art & MediaCut-Flower TradeTravelPermalink

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Flower Vendors: Keeping It Informal

It’s happened in San Antonio and San Francisco, and now in Istanbul; authorities are trying to get flower vendors to buy in and make their work official.


A boy makes flower garlands to sell on the street in Hyderabad, India

Photo: Sandy Ao

Within the heart of every self-proclaimed progressive, a dictator is lurking:

“You must not be poor. You WILL be clean and happy!”

For progressives, nothing’s crazier or more intolerable than people who won’t be “bettered.“ But the record shows that, despite 150 years of social science and persuasion, there are plenty of folks who don’t want to sign up for the program.

In the realm of commerce, this recalcitrance is called “the informal economy.” For obvious reasons, it includes the black market, but most of its participants are selling things that are perfectly legal – like flowers. They’re just operating outside the reach of officialdom and regulation.

Anybody who’s ever been paid in cash (or, alternatively, had to fill out pages of forms and file the pounds of paper that the “formal economy” demands) knows there are advantages to marginality. But there are disadvantages, too. Ask any undocumented worker who’s been cheated out of a day’s pay.

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Posted by Julie on 07/29 at 09:41 PM
Cut-Flower TradeFloristsPoliticsPermalink

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A Florist with Prairie Aesthetics

Combining the grow-local ethic with a fondness for rangeland plants, Kimberly Hess will let Mother Nature handle inventory for her flower shop.


Kimberly Hess uses curly dock, a prairie wildflower, in arrangements. Her shop, soon to open in Fargo, ND, will feature the region’s wild plants, homegrown on her farm.

Photo: Sarah Kolberg, for the Grand Forks Herald

It’s a long way from the world’s renowned flower-growing regions—Lisse in the Netherlands or Medellin, Colombia—to Halstad, Minnesota. Nobody told Kimberly Hess that, though. She’s planning to open a flower shop in nearby Fargo, North Dakota, using the grasses and wildflowers that grow at her farm along the Red River.

Tu-Uyen Tran of the Grand Forks Herald wrote a fine feature story about Hess and her plans for Prairie Petals.

Halstad, pop. 622, is in far western Minnesota, a farming community settled by Norwegian immigrants. In fields of her own 150-acres and ditches through the surrounding countryside, Hess finds wild hemlock, sedge and lead plants, along with “purple prairie clovers and the violet flowers of the vervains, ignored or unseen by drivers roaring by on the asphalt.

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Posted by Julie on 07/08 at 02:44 PM
Cut-Flower TradeEcologyFloristsPermalink
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