‘Zelmira’ Wins Best in Show in SAF’s Outstanding Varieties Competition - safnow.org





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‘Zelmira’ Wins Best in Show in SAF’s Outstanding Varieties Competition

by | Sep 7, 2022 | Floral Industry News | 0 comments


‘Zelmira’, a salmon Oriental Hybrid lily presented by Oregon Flowers, won best in show at SAF’s Outstanding Varieties Competition.

‘Zelmira’, a salmon Oriental Hybrid lily presented by Oregon Flowers, charmed judges with its vibrant (and in demand) coloring, perfect foliage, and consistent blooms to win the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition, held in conjunction with the organization’s 137th annual convention in Orlando.

“I was not surprised this took the top prize,” says judge Lani Callister, fresh flower manager for Ensign Wholesale Floral in Salt Lake City, Utah, who adored ‘Zelmira’s’ peachy-pink petals — a shade her customers request year-round. “You can’t find any flaws with it. The foliage is perfect. The stems are strong. The blooms are consistent. Oregon Flowers lives up to their reputation for quality lilies.”

The Best in Show win was a delightful surprise for Oregon Flowers, which has consistently entered the competition for more than 20 years. “We’ve had many blue ribbons and Best in Class ribbons, as well as a few People’s Choice wins,” says Martin Meskers, AAF, president and CEO of the Aurora, Oregon company. “But this is our first time getting Best in Show. It shines a light on all our flowers and our team back at home, who spent months preparing these lilies to be ready at just the right stage for this occasion.”

Meskers thanked SAF for hosting the competition. “It has done wonders for elevating our products and connecting us with customers, who provide valuable feedback,” he says. “It’s something we look forward to every year.”

Zelmira was among 220 entries from 27 companies.

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. From this elite group, judges chose their Best in Show winner.

Below is a roundup of the Best in Class recipients:

Alstroemeria: ‘Sunny Lady’ by Royal VanZanten

Cut Bulb: ‘Zelmira’ Oriental Trumpet lily by Oregon Flowers

Dianthus: ‘Punky Ball’ by Ball SB

Garden Rose: ‘Westminster Abbey’ by Alexandra Farms

Gerbera: ‘Himalia’ by Dümmen Orange

Rose: ‘Free Spirit’ by GroFlowers

Spray Rose: ‘Sahara Sensation’ by GroFlowers

Chrysanthemum: ‘Alemani Spray’ by Deliflor Latin American

Decorative Foliage & Berries: Hypericum ‘True Romance’ by Floral Chain Direct

Other Cut: ‘Elegance Salmon’ ranunculus by Rosaprima

In addition to Callister, the following members served as judges:


Carrie Moore of Jenny’s Floral in Custer, South Dakota

Jordan Prosser of Botanica International Decor and Design Studio in Tampa, Florida

Erin Davidson of McNamara Florist in Indianapolis, Indiana


Erin Brotherton of Denver Wholesale Florists in Denver, Colorado

Freddy Melero of Choice Farms in Miami, Florida


Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Son Inc. in Pierson, Florida

Gabriela Uribe of Allure Farms in Doral, Florida

Cindy Scott of Sun Valley Flower Farms in Arcata, California

Chrysal USA supplied the plant food, Syndicate Sales supplied the vases, and Dave and Megan Mitchell of Mitchell’s Flowers & Events in Orland Park, Illinois, and their team coordinated the competition.

Look for more on the competition in the November/December issue of Floral Management magazine. Click here to see pictures from the competition.

Katie Vincent is a contributing editor for the Society of American Florists.

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