My friend Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Farm recently visited Roseville Clematis Farm in Florida and snapped a few pictures for all of us, plus wrote up a re-cap of what she saw. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your experience with all of us!
Do you love to design with clematis, but wonder why the stems are so expensive?
A recent visit to Roseville Farms in Apopka, Florida gave me a new understanding and appreciation for this glorious, yet high maintenance flower crop.
My husband and I were treated to a tour by Dan Webber, the Vice President of the world’s largest Clematis Nursery. Roseville Farms propagates and grows wholesale clematis plant material as well as cut flower clematis on the site’s 35 acres. They have 500,000 square feet of greenhouses and clematis is the only crop grown at the farm. Clematis is propagated and grown in pots on raised greenhouse workbenches. Nothing is grown in the ground and the clematis plants need constant care.
The facility is in perfect order and remarkably clean for a business dealing with tons of potted dirt. The greenhouses and coolers are neatly organized with the newly propagated young starters, 1 year old and 2 year old clematis retail nursery plants. In addition, there are specific plants, greenhouses and space for the clematis to be sold to florists.
The cut flower clematis production is where things get really interesting with extreme hands on nurturing by the employees. Each plant is groomed to only permit one to two stems to grow up a metal rod. The remaining stems and plant material are cut off. As the vine grows up the rod it is hand clipped to the rod similar to the way orchid stems are treated. But, unlike orchids the vine keeps growing and growing. The caregiving clematis workers must continuously pull each vine down the rod and delicately bend the vine at the base to allow the vine to grow and permit the blossoms to form several feet up the vine. This process goes on for weeks until prime long stems and blossoms are ready to ship out.
To prepare the clematis flower stems for florist hands each stem is cut while remaining attached to the thin metal rod and placed in flower buckets to be moved to the processing area. Female workers wearing coats in a giant cooler are lined up to a waist high work counter where they gently release each vine from the clips and rod. The stem is inspected and if it passes the quality test it is neatly bundled and tagged by variety.
The bundled clematis is then shipped off to flower wholesalers around the world. Dan advises florists to purchase Roseville Farms clematis bundles from your wholesaler. He has made contact with wholesalers in every major market. The clematis cut flowers are amazing with 5 distinct color categories-White, Red, Purple, Pink, and Blue plus each color has sub colors to choose from. Roseville Farms tags each clematis bundle with the variety name to help florists learn the names for placing orders. Check out their website to look at all the clematis color choices. www.clematis.com
Clematis has a long vase life and adds the unique and special element to your creations. Florists, you want to get to know the American cut flower clematis grown by Roseville Farms and sold by your flower wholesaler.