Valleflor: The Road Less Traveled

Ecuador flower farms were the destination of globe-trotting floral-industry expert Terry Johnson as he traveled to South America to report on the topic for Florist Chronicles.

Eryngium Amethystinum

Valleflor Eryngium Amethystinum

This is the third of several stories describing his journeys. If you missed the first two articles, take a look at Flowers with Love and Roses from Living Soil.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost

Flowers grow abundantly throughout Ecuador. Yet the country’s cut flower-growing community is most well-known within the floral trade for focusing on and producing incredible roses — large blossoms, thick, long stems and an amazing assortment of varieties and colors. But one flower farm, Valleflor (Puembo, Ecuador), chose a different path from other farms in nurturing the growth of some different blossoms. And that, as in Frost’s poem, has made all the difference.

Delphinium Flowers

Valleflor Delphiniums

Rather than focusing on roses, Valleflor produces what are called “summer flowers.” Its offerings include delphinium, bouvardia, statice, limonium and many other varieties. First on my list of favorites is the aforementioned delphinium. Magnificent, long, spiked flowers of blues and pinks, this blossom’s name comes from the Latin word for “dolphin,” referring to the shape of the nectar-producing part of the flower, or “nectary.”

Valleflor’s Delphinium Royal varieties of flowers grow into blossoms with deeply intense, vivid colors and have more blooms per stem than other cut flower varieties. They were also developed for longer vase life so people can enjoy their colorful displays of flowers for many more days.

Second on my list of favorites is a far-lesser-known flower: eryngium (air-RIN-jee-um). Eryngium is in the family of Apiaceae, a family that features hairless and usually spiny leaves and dome-shaped flowers (actually flower clusters or umbels) that remind me of thistles.

Limonium Flowers

Valleflor Limonium

Valleflor describes its eryngium as a “New Age” flower. I don’t know about that, but I know what I like — something different with a long, long vase life. The longer, the better. And eryngium certainly has both distinctiveness and vase-life longevity.

Valleflor prides itself on ensuring its flowers grow in harmony with society and the environment, while also protecting the well-being of its more than 220 employees. All employee meals are prepared and served in a stunning, red building with a spotless interior and a terra-cotta-tiled floor and wooden tables and chairs. The monthly cost for those meals is about what we would pay for a cup of premium coffee in the United States.

Taking a road less-traveled with a mission of producing the newest varieties of excellent-quality summer cut flowers has not only resulted in some of the finest summer flowers I have ever seen, but it has paid off with many Valleflor customers beating a path to its door.

Written by

Terry Johnson

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Related posts:

  1. Roses from Living Soil
  2. Ecuador Rose Grower Nurtures Flowers With Love
  3. Where Do Cut Flowers Grow & How Do They Reach Me?
  4. Secrets of Flowers Revealed
  5. Is Your Florist Selling Fresh Flowers?

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