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Royal Purple and Golden Spirit: a dynamic duo

Royal Purple and Golden Spirit may sound like the names of a dynamic crime-fighting duo; but at the Sun Valley Floral Farms, they're two of the favorite summer specialty branches.

Royal Purple | Golden Spirit

Cotinus is a summer crop through and through -- they love sun and heat, which is why they grow them at the Willow Creek farm, located 45 minutes inland from the coastal Arcata location. The open-field farm is nestled in a sunny valley which sees 14-15 hours of sunlight and temperatures ranging from 75-90 degrees during the summer -- the ideal environment for these sky-reaching branches.

Willow Creek Farm

They start harvesting around the beginning of June, picking through summertime and into fall. At the end of the season, the plants are pruned down to the ground; they rest through the winter and then begin growing, shooting up to a height of 10+ feet tall.

Avenue of Giant Cotinus

Royal Purple Details
Aside from its great height, Royal Purple Cotinus is known for its brilliant, distinctive color. Its leaves contrast beautifully with itself - the top of each leaf features a burgundy-purple sheen while its underside is silver-green, and the whole leaf is wrought with bright veins and framed with an iridescent edging. This conflagration of color gives the entire branch a darkly unique and dramatic presentation.

Royal Purple leaves

Golden Spirit Details
Golden Spirit was added to the Willow Creek repertoire a few years ago. Golden Spirit acts similarly to the Royal Purple cultivar, but because it is lighter in color, they have had to make a few practical changes at the farm. Golden Spirit, with its fair complexion, can't take too much of the hot summer sun or its leaves will burn; to remedy that, they simply pick it earlier in the season, often finishing at the end of July/August.

These summer specialty branches are both available in 3-foot tall consumer bunches, and the farm also offers custom-cut "super bunches" of the Royal Purple, which are cut at a height of 6 feet.

For more information:
The Sun Valley Group
3160 Upper Bay Road
Arcata, CA 95521-9690
T: 800-747-0396
F: 707-826-8708
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