‘Amistad’, a light pink double Oriental lily presented by Sun Valley Floral Farms, charmed judges with its soft coloring, elegance and grandeur to win the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition, held in conjunction with the organization’s 138th annual convention in Phoenix.
The Best in Show win stunned Sun Valley’s president and CEO, Lane DeVries, AAF, who hadn’t entered the competition in several years and had put a considerable amount of time and effort behind another entry — a variety of ilex he bred, which won Best in Class for the Decorative Foliage & Berries category.
“We are very happy with our Best in Show,” he said of the lily, which Sun Valley has grown for two years. “These just came out of regular production in the greenhouse. We didn’t plan for it, we just picked it out the greenhouse and went for it.”
Judges were impressed with the strong, tall stems bearing four to six lightly fragrant and pollenless blooms. One judge described the lily as “elegant and classic”— a flower that could be used for everyday arrangements as well as wedding and funeral work.
‘Amistad’ was among the 249 entries from 28 companies in the 2023 Outstanding Varieties Competition.
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 variety in each category entry won “Best in Class.” From this elite group, judges chose their Best in Show winner.
Here is a roundup of the Best in Class recipients:
- Other Cut Flower: ‘PINK VICTORY®’ Veronica, Floral Chain Direct
- Cut Dianthus: ‘Novia’, Ayura SAS
- Cut Alstroemeria: ‘Florentina,’ Royal Van Zanten
- Cut Garden Rose: ‘Victorian Red,’ Dream Farms
- Cut Bulb Flower: ‘Amistad,’ Sun Valley Floral Farms
- Cut Spray Rose: ‘Bridal Veil,’ Eufloria Flowers
- Decorative (Cut) Foliage & Berries: ‘Winter Spirit,’ Sun Valley Floral Farms
- Cut Rose: ‘Aloha,’ Dream Farms
- Cut Chrysanthemum: ‘Bonita Orange Spray,’ Royal Van Zanten
- Jodi McShan, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, McShan Florist
- Lori Wheat, AAF, Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center
- Carrie Moore, AAF, Jenny’s Floral
- Lani Callister, AAF, Ensign Wholesale Flower Market
- Red Kennicott, AAF, Kennicott Brothers
- Ryan Alders, Alders Wholesale
- Erik Hagstrom, Albin Hagstrom & Sons
- Ben Dobbe, Holland America Flowers, LLC
- Leo Roozen, AAF, Washington Bulb Co., Inc.
Amanda Jedlinsky is the managing editor of SAF NOW.