We began our humble origins with one farm located in the savannah of Bogota. The product line consisted of cut chrysanthemums. That fledgling farm was our only source of product for many years. As this farm grew so did the Colombian floral industry and Gardens America as well.
COLOMBIAN FLORAL HISTORY
The flower industry in Colombia has grown incredibly since its beginnings in 1966. It was certainly helped by the world wide oil crisis in the early 1970´s which killed the UK production and a big part of the European too. The Mediterranean countries survived in carnation production, which like Colombia does not need artificial heat, until the 1990’s, but then the demand for quality again turned the tide of favor towards Colombia.
Colombia is a vast country, stretching from the shores of the Caribbean to the dizzy heights of the plateau surrounding Bogotá, it’s capital, at some 8,000 feet high. It is also on the Equator, which means it is very hot by the coast, but with a mild climate around Bogotá, and being on the Equator, most importantly, the daylight length is almost the same all year round, with very strong light intensity. All of which go to make it a very good environment for growing flowers.
Flowers require a lot of thought, as they have to be cultivated, and protected from the elements. The growing houses are mainly a wooden (eucalyptus) structure, covered in plastic. The houses are designed so that the rainwater is diverted into holding reservoirs for use in watering the plants. It is necessary to have an irrigation system for this, but after that, the flowers grow naturally.
The main crops around Bogotá are carnations, spray carnations and alstroemeria. A Colombian carnation or spray carnation is still considered the ultimate in quality, beauty and longevity in the flower world – even though it is undervalued in most US markets. The biggest crop is roses. After that there is a myriad of other flower varieties grown including chrysanthemums,(both spray and single bloom).
85-90% of flower production from Colombia goes to the United States. This is because Miami airport is only two and a half hours away. Europe is eleven to thirteen hours. A lot can happen in that time, so care has to be taken with European imports to make sure that they arrive in the best possible condition.
As the industry has evolved and the consumer has become more knowledgeable, we have diversified our products and increased our suppliers in order to fulfill market needs. In addition to our original farm we have added over thirty five growers throughout the USA and the world.