- Written by Hannah Dunne
- February 22, 2017
Renowned around the world as purveyors of the most precious garden rose varieties, Alexandra Farms are entering their time to shine as spring approaches and florists welcome wedding season. An established favourite among brides, the celebrated farm even grows David Austin roses alongside their huge range of gorgeous own-brand scented stems. But it’s not just a famous name that makes these roses so special, because every flower in this unique range comes with its own story and its own qualities, making the Alexandra collection a perfect guide for brides, taking all that Pinterest-pain away and helping to select perfectly suited stems.
“Our whites, light pinks and romantic shapes are most commonly used for wedding work,” explains Joey Azout who owns and runs Alexandra Farms in Colombia’s Savanna de Bogotá, where fertile soil and high altitude makes for the perfect growing conditions; hence why esteemed David Austin chose to sign a deal to grow here.
Joey continues, “We develop 4 to 5 new varieties a year, giving months of attention to each one and eventually deciding whether each new breed is a keeper and should be given a name before being offered to wholesalers and florists.”
Joey and his team know that brides-to-be can prove demanding at times, with Pinterest boards paving the way for a whole new era of pickiness. Which is why they publish detailed, easy-to-read info cards for each and every variety. They show a day-by-day photograph of the flower’s vase life and include special little back-stories explaining where names and breeds originate, providing a nice hook for many customers looking to make their choices more personal.
“Yves Piaget was named after the famous French jewellery designer. She is a large-headed peony-looking rose with an incredibly strong fragrance. She will perform in a vase rather quickly and will make a striking impression.”
“Princess Miyuki (First Snow) is new and exclusive. She was bred for the emperor of Japan who wanted a white rose with a myrrh fragrance. She is just that! She is a perfect rose for understated elegant weddings or for aroma therapeutic vase work.”
“Baronesse is a darker more intense sister of Mariatheresia. Blooms are medium-sized and have a perfect cup opening reminiscent of old garden roses in Josephine Bonaparte’s Malmaison Rose collection. Great for vase work as well as events.”
See their key and a few examples below, but you can view all the varieties on the Alexandra Farms website along with their full wedding guide for sharing with brides, plus free posters, info cards and more. Sign up to their newsletter to receive all their fantastic literature directly to your inbox.
Specialty garden roses… not just for weddings!
While wedding season is looming and we all know gorgeous garden roses make the perfect choice for that special day, Joey is really trying to prove that his roses aren’t just for weddings.
He explains, “So many of our roses are large, scented, unusual and have an eight to ten-day vase life, which when using them in your everyday work will totally differentiate a florist from the Tesco next door, because Tesco doesn’t carry this kind of special product.
“If florists are going to survive we really believe they’re going to have to create special designs or use wonderful flowers”, otherwise they’re just competing with bigger companies who can make deals to secure lower prices for the same product.
He adds, “Now we do realise you need a good price and longevity in the vase, but we are providing that! Take our rose Princess Aiko, this a peony shaped bright peach rose that has a ten-day vase life. We’ve tons of varieties like this, we’re talking a solid plate-sized umbrella of petals and a performance where the flowers bloom right in front of you; it starts small and grows into a magnificent new shape. You’ll never find it at a supermarket and it’s something florists can really use to their advantage.”
Article created in collaboration with Alexandra Farms