Cotinus, a decorative foliage (also known as “Smokebush”) from The Sun Valley Group in Arcata, California, took top honors last week, winning Best in Show in the Outstanding Varieties Competition during the Society of American Florists’ 135th annual convention in Amelia Island, Florida on Sept. 18.
Standing more than 6 feet tall, Cotinus immediately caught the eyes of judges and others who visited the room where rows of dramatic entries stood on display during the four-day convention. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said judge Richard Brittingham of Pennock Floral. “It’s gargantuan. I picture it at the entrance of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”
“I was blown away by the height,” said judge Heather Waits of Bloomtastic Florist in Columbus, Ohio. “I could use this in arches, stage pieces and tall centerpieces. It’s an event designer’s dream!”
Continus was among 210 entries from 31 growers and breeders in Florida, California, Oregon, and Hawaii, as well as Colombia, Ecuador, Israel and the Netherlands.
Judges scored each entry based on color and commercial appeal, stem and foliage, bloom form and size, and overall presentation. The judging panel, which included three retailers, three growers and three wholesalers, evaluated specific categories of flowers, and the highest scored entry of each won “Best in Class.”
Below is a roundup of the Best in Class recipients:
Alstroemeria: ‘Clarice’, presented by Natural Flowers, Inc.
Chrysanthemum: ‘Shortcake’, presented by Deliflor Latin America
Cut Bulb: ‘Paposa’ Longiflorum Oriental hybrid lily, presented by Oregon Flowers
Dianthus: ‘Damascus’, presented by Dümmen Orange
Garden Rose: ‘Bellalinda Cerise’, presented by Fresca Farms
Gerbera: ‘Landmark’, presented by Oregon Flowers
Rose: ‘Queen Berry’, presented by Continental Farms LLC
Spray Rose: ‘Sweet Sensation’, presented by Rio Roses
Other Cut: Hydrangea, presented by Groflowers
SAF extends a special thanks to the judges for the 2019 Outstanding Varieties Competition:
Karen Fountain, AAF, of Flowers ‘n’ Ferns in Burke, Virginia
Eileen Looby Weber, AAF, of Lake Forest Flowers in Lake Forest, Illinois
Heather Waits of Bloomtastic Florist in Columbus, Ohio
Richard Brittingham of Pennock Floral in Miami
Lani Callister of Ensign Wholesale Floral in Salt Lake City, Utah
Manny Gonzales of Mayesh Wholesale in Charleston, South Carolina
Bonny Doughtery of Glad-a-Way Gardens in Santa Maria, California
Rita Jo Schoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony in Fritz Creek, Alaska
Dan Vordale of Ocean View Flowers in Lompoc, California
In addition, SAF would like to extend a thanks to Chrysal USA for supplying the plant food, Syndicate Sales for the hundreds of vases used for the entrants, and Dave and Megan Mitchell of Mitchell’s Flowers & Events in Orland Park, Illinois, and their team for coordinating the Outstanding Varieties Competition.
Click here for a full list of winners and pictures.
Look for more on the competition in and the blue ribbon winners in the November/December issue of Floral Management magazine.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is SAF’s senior contributing editor.