Human Flower Project

Olympic Bouquets, Green with Piety

After much deliberation, the Vancouver olympic committee has settled on a monochromatic bouquet for the 1800 winners. O (what’s with you?) Canada!

imageThe winner after 23 attempts: the design chosen for the 2010 Olympic bouquet.

Photo: Bill Keay, for Canwest News

The “green-gos” have spoken.  Last week, the powers that Olympicize introduced the bouquets that winners in the 2010 Winter games will wave.

“The Olympic bouquets are a soft, elegant green, with five B.C.-grown spider mums in the centre, surrounded by layers of monkey grass, aspidistra leaves and hypericum berries imported from Ecuador.”

What do you think?

We reported awhile back that June Strandberg, partnering with Margitta Schulz of North Vancouver, had won the contract to design and make the games’ 1800 victory bouquets. Strandberg’s Just Flowers, based in Surry, hires ex-convicts and trains them for livelihoods in floristry, giving her a conscionable advantage over the competition.


June Strandberg, who will direct the making of 1800 victory bouquets

Photo: Jenelle Schneider, for Vancouver Sun

We’ve since learned that Strandberg is not only compassionate; she has the patience of Job. The Vancouver Sun reported on the extended “plea-bargaining” involved in choosing a design for the Olympic flowers. Strandberg had hoped to use only native flora of British Columbia: “We wanted the arrangement to look natural,” she said, “like something you would see if you drove up the mountain. But that is not what they wanted.”

The Vancouver Olympic Committee wasn’t impressed by indigenous salal or boxwood, and then nixed pussy willow for fear that a tossed bouquet might put somebody’s eye out. So Strandberg and Schulz kept juggling with the event’s muted colors – blue, green, and white.

“If I put in a white statice and blue iris and green mums they took out the white statice,” Strandberg told Steve Whysall of the Sun. “Next time they said ‘Cut back on the irises.’”

After 23 outtakes, the panelists chose an all-green design tied with a blue bow. The ‘Revert’ spider chrysanthemum (definitely on the chartreuse side) will be coming from Quik’s Farm’s greenhouses in Chilliwack, B.C., but everything else will fly in from an unnamed Ecuadorian farm; the foliage was to start arriving today. On Friday, the team will begin making the victory bouquets, 80-150 per a day. The Olympic committee asks that all 1800 arrangements look identical, which is tough (also kind of lifelessly peculiar. These are flowers, folks, not ski poles!)

From the photos available thus far, the 2010 Olympic bouquets look both striking (as in, weaponlike) and muted—a cross between a feather duster and ornamental cauliflower.  We suppose that the preferred simile will be a torch, since the Olympic fire, passed hand to hand for weeks, builds anticipation for the games and will ignite the competition this Friday.


Made of chrysanthemum, monkey grass, aspidistra leaves and hypericum berries, the bouquets were introduced last week.

Photo: Jonathan Hayward, for the Canadian Press

But an all-green bouquet? It doesn’t take a Ralph Nader to figure out the politics of this choice.  The committee stresses that though not all the plants included are local, the South American farm involved has been carefully vetted. “Strandberg says she has investigated thoroughly to make sure the foliage is not being ‘raped from the jungle’ and that the farm itself operates in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way and has a reputable employment practice.” Even so, background checks weren’t enough. Today’s media environment demands a “meatless” color scheme, too.

Call us apprehensive but open. We wish June, Margitta, the 22 grads of Just Beginnings’ program and all those bobsledders well. Maybe green torches against snow-covered slopes will be dazzling.

That “sustainable” snow should be arriving any time now from Baltimore.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 04:03 PM


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