The apricot-hued spray rose, ‘Kelly', reigned supreme at the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2007 Outstanding Varieties Competition, held at the SAF's 123rd annual convention in Palm Springs, Calif., in late September.
The rose was produced by Eufloria Flowers in Nipomo, Calif. Judges awarded ‘Kelly' the show's top honor because of its vase life, foliage and consistency of blooms from stem to stem. "It's a great color and it has consistent flowers," says Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF, of University of Florida in Gainesville, and one of eight Outstanding Varieties judges. "It has a number of flower stages represented, which a spray rose should have. For a consumer, that represents a longer-lasting product."
Chad Nelson, sales manager for Eufloria, says this was the company's first year growing spray roses. "It's a great honor," he adds. "We have a lot of workers putting in a lot of hours into producing the best stems. It's very rewarding."
SAF's annual Outstanding Varieties Competition, one of the industry's largest flower competitions, has been exhibiting the floral industry's most outstanding flowers, foliage and plants for more than 25 years. This year, it was open to the public for the first time in the competition's history.
Each entry is judged on its own merits in five distinct areas: stem and foliage; bloom form; color and commercial appeal; bloom size; and overall quality/presentation. In addition to Best in Show, entries earning the highest scores in 11 categories are named "Best in Class." Blue ribbons are awarded to entries scoring between 42-50 points and red ribbons are awarded to entries scoring between 34-41 points. Best in Show, Best in Class and blue-ribbon winners will be featured in the November 2007 issue of SAF's Floral Management magazine and are invited to exhibit at the American Institute of Floral Designers' (AIFD) 2008 National Symposium in Chicago from July 3 to 7.
This year's Best in Class category winners are:
For more information on SAF's Outstanding Varieties Competition, visit www.safnow.org  or call (800) 336-4743.