How Flowers Get Here

June 12, 2014

Welcome back to my blog! As written about earlier, these first few stories will attempt to guide you through the process of how flowers get from point “A” to point “B” and beyond. There are many points to this story, and I quickly learned that there isn’t one simple answer as to how the flowers get here. It is a multi-faceted, fascinating story of technology, hard work and dedication that brings these beauties into our shops and homes. I realized that at every level, there are people involved in delivering them to us. Botanists and geneticists create strains and varieties of flowers no one has ever seen before, variations on a theme. As they create new varieties and improve older ones, the breeders partner with farms that dedicate land strictly for test beds of the new varieties of flowers to grow so they can be watched and intensely scrutinized by botanists on the farm. They are studied for everything from disease resistance to color palette to the number of blooms produced per growth cycle, everything down to the number of petals per flower. Only after several years do the researchers, farmers and marketers have enough data to project whether a variety may produce enough healthy stems to be viably, profitably grown and shipped. Some plants require up to five years before the blooms produced are of commercial value, not to mention that after such a massive amount of time the possibility exists that the market may no longer favor the color/shape/variety of flower being produced, which would render all those years of cultivation and breeding as well as the money spent on the meticulous study of the flower being developed useless.

Once testing is complete and the decision made that the flowers have a market and are ready for full scale production, farm owners dedicate hectares of expensive land and property in the form of greenhouses and packaging facilities to the commercial scale production of the flowers. These require even more employees to do everything from conditioning the soil, planting, re-planting, maintaining and harvesting the flowers, which are then hand graded and packaged by people like Patricia, then trucked to the airports or other shipping points for export. This requires even more hands on deck as the flowers are inspected by agriculture departments, placed onto planes, flown to their distribution points, taken off the planes, inspected again and finally distributed to brokers or shippers. As well, at this level there are sales people and office personnel involved to get the flowers to the market, dictate pricing and make sure that the businesses involved are generating profits.

In future blogs I will go into more detail about this, but I’ve written enough for now and don’t want to bore you! Thanks for reading.