The Politics of Flowers

You might have noticed that fresh flower prices have risen a bit in the past few weeks. Who would ever think that a new tax on people in one South American country, Colombia, would ever have an effect here in Auburn, New York? That is exactly what has happened. Let me start from the beginning.

As most readers of this column know, most of the flowers sold in the United States, especially in the Northeast, are grown in Colombia and Ecuador. Our finest roses, in a magnificent array of colors with large flower heads and strong stems, come from Ecuador. They tend to be a bit more expensive than those from Colombia, but their presentation and lasting qualities are worth it.

Most of our other flowers originate in three areas of Colombia: near Medellin, in the northwest corner of the country; from Cali, a small area along the southern coast overlooking the Pacific; and mostly from the mountainous areas around Bogota. The area is ideal for growing flowers, with lots of sun and even temperatures. Colombian flower growers have found that by building their greenhouses at different altitudes, they can best satisfy the temperature needs of various crops. At the lowest altitudes, roses and various warm weather crops thrive. Move up a couple thousand feet and you have a steady temperature in the 70s. Chrysanthemums love it there, and as you climb a few thousand more feet, the 55-degree temperature is ideal for growing carnations. In my mind, there is no more beautiful carnation than one grown in the mountains surrounding Bogota.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The Citizen