So apart from getting great business advice and a hands on crash course in technique, one of the coolest things that I took away from Rene Van Rems’ tablescapes class was first hand knowledge of two flower growers and their products.
Diana from Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers was a student in the class, but also brought with her buckets of their coolest current crops. Check out these pics – all of the varieties she brought were stunning, but two particularly stood out to me, because I’d never seen them before – they were Spiderman Grevillea and Green Macropedia Kangaroo Paw. Both look like something out of a Dr Seuss book, or even from another planet!
Here are some shots of these two favorites of mine, followed by some more of the buckets full of Resendiz Brothers product:
How beautiful is their stuff? They post tons of really fun behind the scenes photos from the farm on Facebook, like this one. I love following the blogs and facebook pages of flower growers – I wish more of them would get really active in social media!
Next up was a visit from an extremely passionate sales rep named Eugenia from…Passion Growers. They are an Ecuadorian company that specializes in roses, but they have several wholesale outlets in the states, including one in Southern California (that just happens to be across the street from Rene Van Rems studio, in a big floral industry area).
She gave us this reference card with all of their rose varieties, and it’s pretty much every flower person’s dream ; ) I just love stuff like this!
The Passion Growers website is also really cool. They don’t just list the color, shape and variety name, but rather detailed information about each variety of rose they sell. They include the rose’s “aperture” and “aperture speed” – meaning how open the roses get and how quickly they open, as well as details about vase life, and suitable substitutes, if you’re looking for a very similar rose to mix things up but keep them analogous. Here’s a screenshot from their very cool website!
They do not sell to wholesalers, but have huge retail accounts that they augment by selling direct to designers and other relatively small customers. They don’t have a minimum order, and use On Trac (who I hear is the best and most reasonably priced) for their shipping out of So Cal. But the coolest thing about them is probably that they ship bunches of roses that are already stripped (only the top 5 or so leaves are left intact, in case you wanted to incorporate them into your designs), and that are allowed to breathe rather than being completely smashed in those 25 packs. They can even ship them in water if you request it. They are design ready. From what I understand, they are comparably priced to other better wholesale roses. Obviously this isn’t going to make sense for me to pay shipping costs if I only need a couple of bunches, but I will be trying them out at the first opportunity when I have a big rose order!
Here are some photos of their roses at work in our class designs. I believe this was the Big Fun variety, which is one of Rene’s favorites:
I love learning about new flower varieties and thought it was very cool to meet some growers in person! Stay tuned soon for my third and final entry about this class, with some neat tips and tricks I learned at the class (both from Rene and other students).