Ask anyone to draw a flower, and what do you get? A daisy. So, when you encounter the perfect daisy, it feels like more than just a daisy: It becomes the ideal embodiment of the abstract idea of a flower.
Maybe that explains why the judges at the 2018 Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition burst with enthusiasm for ‘Alma,’ a white daisy spray chrysanthemum that won Best in Show. “When you’ve been a florist forever, a daisy is the most common thing you see and use,” said Rakini Chinery, AAF, AzMF, of Allan’s Flowers in Prescott, Arizona, who served as a judge. “But when I got to those daisies, my response was, ‘Oh my god, they are so beautiful!’”
Chinery checked off the categories used by the judges, noting how ‘Alma’ stood out in each one: color, size, bloom formation, commercial appeal, and the variety’s crisp, dark green foliage on its sturdy stem.
But ‘Alma’ also sparkled with features that make it seem fresh and new. In particular, the bright green centers caught the eye of these and other observers. “I’ve seen yellow-green before, never true green like this,” said Tim Farrell, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, of Farrell’s Florist in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
“How often do you see a white daisy chrysanthemum with so many blooms all open at the same time?” asked Alice Waterous, AIFD, CF, PFCI, of Nordlie in Grandville, Michigan, another judge. “You eliminate waste. Look at the great long breaks,” referring to the laterals. “That’s going to be a satisfying flower all the way along the chain, from the grower to the wholesaler to the retailer to the end consumer. Everybody’s going to love it because it hits all the marks.”
Read more about ‘Alma’, along with the Best in Class and Blue Ribbon winners at this year’s contest in the Nov/Dec issue of Floral Management.