At the SAF Outstanding Varieties competition, Deliflor's chrysanthemum Alma won the prize for 'Best in show'. Once at the convention, it was no picnic. 250+ varieties, from more than 95 companies. Time to check out the story of this prize winning chrysanthemum.
Juan David Lecuona, commercial director of Deliflor Latin America, says: "It all started in Maasdijk (The Netherlands) around 2012, where the Deliflor breeders crossed some specimens to develop the code “56631”, that was Alma’s nickname. The seeds obtained were germinated in 2014, and after some evaluations, it was decided that this “56631” clone had more potential to be grown in tropical conditions so they sent it to us in Colombia to be evaluated under our own conditions.
"The first time we (Deliflor LatinAmerica) saw it as code 56631, was in November 2014, this variety stood out among the others on every evaluation we did, so in March of 2015 the code “56631” became semi-commercial.
"We started to evaluate more and more, we did tests at farms, to see how it developed on different areas of Colombia, and the results were great, so we decided to show it, as a code, on our annual public trials (Delishow 2016) in August 2016. The visitors were amazed by its bright white color, and the beautiful contrast with the green center; the many blooms (10 to 12); the long vase life, the volume, the resistance to damage, etc. So much that it was selected by the visitors, as the best variety of the Delishow 2016, while still being a code.
"In 2017 we decided to name this variety, we needed a name that meant purity, white, hope. So, our Director Manuel Marin came out with “ALMA” which is the Spanish word for “soul”, so it was decided, this name “Alma” gathered all the adjectives that we wanted to reflect, and we started to do promotion and marketing.
"Because we really believe in this variety, we entered it to the “2017 SAF Outstanding Varieties Competition” at Palm Beach Florida in 2017, but, due to Hurricane Irma, the show was cancelled, so we had to postpone it for 2018 at Palm Springs."
The journey to Palm Springs
"SAF Outstanding Varieties Competition attracts the industry's leading buyers, and they go through the competing entries with camera in hand, so we were very excited to participate at Palm Springs California, since the convention was cancelled the year before, so we selected the varieties we were going to enter in 2017 plus the ones for 2018, so we had 17 varieties.
"We separated 2 beds to grow these varieties in order to be ready to be shipped at their perfect stage, but we didn’t take into account that “Alma” is a variety that has a very short cycle in the field, so when Alma was in full bloom, the others were just opening, but we needed to send our star to the competition. Coincidentally, that same week, we went to Galleria Farms to see some trials of other varieties they were testing, and taking advantage of being there, we asked them to show us how they were doing with “Alma”. We were so happy with what we saw, a greenhouse filled with “Alma”, they were doing a great job growing this variety, the uniformity, the number of blooms, it was all white, it looked like a cloud. So, we asked Mr. Andres Valencia for some bunches to enter at this competition, and he immediately said yes, and agreed that this variety should be a part of this event.
"Galleria gave it to us and we sent it, among the other 16 varieties through Cristina Alvarez and Marcela Caicedo from Uniflor (Liberty Blooms), who kindly offered to deliver them via Fedex to Dramm & Echter, where Mr. Mike Mooney helped us taking them through the desert to Palm Springs and the convention.
"Once at the convention, it was no picnic. 250+ varieties, from more than 95 companies.
"We had to compete against Standard Roses, Garden Roses, Spray Roses, Chrysanthemums, Freesias, Gerberas, Alstroemerias, Dianthus, Potted Flowering Plants, Decorative Foliages, Hydrangeas, Ilex, Lilies, Anthuriums, Astilbes, Oncidiums, Proteas, Cotinus, Jasminoides, etc., but at the end the “Best in Show” for the first time ever was given to a Chrysanthemum. ALMA a Deliflor variety grown by Galleria Farms, and shipped by Uniflor and Dramn & Echter.
"We extend our thanks to all the people who believed in “Alma”. This is a great success for the Chrysanthemum industry.
"By the way, the other 16 varieties we brought to Palm Springs also got 16 ribbons (7 blue Ribbons and 9 red Ribbons)."
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