'Zelmira’, a salmon Oriental Hybrid lily presented by Oregon Flowers, charmed judges with its vibrant (and in demand) coloring, perfect foliage and consistent blooms to win the Society of American Florists’ Outstanding Varieties Competition, held in conjunction with the organization’s 137th annual convention in Orlando.
The Best in Show win was a delightful surprise for Oregon Flowers, which has consistently entered the competition for more than 20 years.
“We’ve had many blue ribbons and Best in Class ribbons, as well as a few People’s Choice wins,” says Martin Meskers, AAF, president and CEO of the Aurora, Oregon company. “But this is our first time getting Best in Show. It shines a light on all our flowers and our team back at home, who spent months preparing these lilies to be ready at just the right stage for this occasion.”
Zelmira was among 220 entries from 27 companies entered in the 2022 Outstanding Varieties Competition.
Judges scored each entry based on color and commercial appeal, stem and foliage, bloom form and size, and overall presentation. The judging panel, which included three retailers, three growers and three wholesalers, evaluated specific categories of flowers, and the highest scored entry of each won “Best in Class.” From this elite group, judges chose their Best in Show winner.
Below is a roundup of the Best in Class recipients:
- Alstroemeria: ‘Sunny Lady’ by Royal VanZanten
- Cut Bulb: ‘Zelmira’ Oriental Trumpet lily by Oregon Flowers
- Dianthus: ‘Punky Ball’ by Ball SB
- Garden Rose: ‘Westminster Abbey’ by Alexandra Farms
- Gerbera: ‘Himalia’ by Dümmen Orange
- Rose: ‘Free Spirit’ by GroFlowers
- Spray Rose: ‘Sahara Sensation’ by GroFlowers
- Other Cut: ‘Elegance Salmon’ ranunculus by Rosaprima
The following SAF members served as judges:
- Carrie Moore of Jenny’s Floral in Custer, South Dakota
- Jordan Prosser of Botanica International Decor and Design Studio in Tampa, Florida
- Erin Davidson of McNamara Florist in Indianapolis, Indiana
- Lani Callister of Ensign Wholesale in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Erin Brotherton of Denver Wholesale Florists in Denver, Colorado
- Freddy Melero of Choice Farms in Miami, Florida
- Erik Hagstrom of Albin Hagstrom & Son Inc. in Pierson, Florida
- Gabriela Uribe of Allure Farms in Doral, Florida
- Cindy Scott of Sun Valley Flower Farms in Arcata, California
Photos of the varieties are available on request.