US (PA): Greenhouse is standing strong long after the cut-flower industry's heyday

Third-generation growers in Avondale, Rosazza Son’s Florist & Greenhouses now has a variety of seasonal options, including Easter bulbs, geraniums, vegetable plants, mums and poinsettias. Right now, Ralph is tucking snapdragon blooms into four stacked layers of woven wire racks that keep them growing straight. All the “snap” will bloom a second time in April, then be cut and shipped mostly to flower shows and fairs in Kennett Square, Oxford and Wilmington, Del.

Years ago, Rosazza was selling flowers to the White House. He specialized in carnations, England’s “divine flower,” first introduced to our Eastern Seaboard in the early 1800s. New York’s Charles Willis Ward popularized the carnation in 1903 when he wrote The America Carnation—How to Grow It. The American Carnation Society was formed in 1892 and survived until 1981.

Rosazza supplied carnations to presidents from Harry Truman to George Bush Sr. Since then, the cut-flower industry has shifted operations to South America, becoming too expensive to be profitable. This wilting of a low-key industry is a story throughout southern Chester County, which was once known as the Carnation Belt.

Read more at Main Line Today (J.F. Pirro)

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