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ASCFG selects 2014 Cut Flowers of the Year, grows to 700 members

Members of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers have chosen three varieties for Cut Flowers of the Year. The evaluation is based on the cultivars’ performance in the ASCFG National Cut Flower Trials, and recommendations from cut flower growers across the country, according to an association news release.

The 2014 winners are the Snapdragon Chantilly Series in the fresh division; the Anemone Galilee Blue in the bulb division; and the Hydrangea Everlasting Series in the woody stem division.

“Pale yellow and pink seem to be the spring-early summer wedding colors, and the Chantilly snapdragon is the flower I’m hoping will bring the most smiles to my brides,” said Linda Doan, co-owner of Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers in Blountville, TN, in the release. Flower stems are 40 inches to 55 inches and the snapdragons are available in a wide range of colors.

“Galilee Blue Anemones are one of our top-selling winter flowers,” Frank Arnosky, owner of Texas Specialty Cut Flowers in Wimberley, TX, and president of ASCFG, told The Produce News. He cuts anemones from January through March and says they are bestsellers at supermarkets and popular for weddings.

“Galiliee’s strong stems and large flowers provide dependable color in bouquets or single-stem bunches,” said Arnosky in a news release. “Besides blue, look for magenta, pink, violet, scarlet and bicolors.”

Also perfect for event use and wedding designs are the re-blooming Everlasting Series hydrangeas, which were bred specifically for the cut flower market. The hardy stems grow three to four feet tall and the long-lasting blooms change colors from green to soft shades of pink, blue, red, or purple, then green again.

The ASCFG just recently increased to 700 members and Arnosky is pleased with its growth. He told The Produce News that the association is a “kind of best-kept secret.”

“This grassroots organization came about over 25 years ago in order to find and disseminate growing information on specialty cut flowers, because as the whole floral growing market went to roses, carnations and mums, everyone forgot how to grow a good delphinium, zinnia, sunflower, or sweet pea,” said Arnosky.

“The ASCFG has always been a leader in the locally-grown movement and the demand for locally grown cut flowers is skyrocketing. I could triple my production tomorrow and the grocery stores would take all I could produce,” Arnosky said.

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers was formed in 1988 to unite and educate field and greenhouse cut flower growers. It connects 700 members across the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland.