As usual, I have my task laid out before me: tell you more about the Fluwel webshop and encourage you to have a look at our Zantedeschias, Dahlias, Begonias, and all other available flower varieties. So pay attention, here goes: visit our Fluwel Web shop and have a look at our Zantedeschias, Dahlias, Begonias, and all other available flower varieties!
Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to the exciting story of this week. Probably much nicer to hear about, I can’t imagine that there are sales talks you haven’t heard before in 2023.
This past week, I visited the yearly conference of the American Daffodil Society. This year’s edition was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The American Daffodil Society concerns itself with all things Daffodil and its members are mostly Americans, quite like the name implies. The USA knows tons of Daffodil enthusiasts, so logically, these people like to gather every year to exhibit their finest Daffodils, photography of Daffodils, and knowledge of Daffodils. The ADS knows some international participants as well, and this year, I was both volunteering to visit their conference as well as obligated to, as next year, I am organizing the World Daffodil Tour and I was there to formally invite all the attendees to come to The Netherlands in 2024.
The World Daffodil Tour is a whole separate story from the national Daffodil Convention the ADS organizes. Besides their contacts within the United States, the Americans are also very keen on keeping close contacts with their fellow Daffodil enthusiasts from all over the world, which means that every four years, they organize a world tour. This year, it’s up to me and my friend Eric Breed to organize a week in The Netherlands to start of the tour before sending everyone off to Northern Ireland to continue their journey at Esker Farm, where they will be hosted by my other dear friend Dave Hardy.
If you are asked to organize such a valued and important event, you are, like I said, expected to show up at the USA conference the year before to formally invite all the attendees to come over to yours the following year. I was able to present what they could expect of their visit to The Netherlands and give them a little preview about what we have already put together schedule-wise. I know this must sound like such tough work: invite people who share your personal interests at a conference where you’re allowed to talk about your hobbies all day… work indeed.
If I had to make a list of friendliest people in the United States, I think Atlanta, Georgia would be my personal number one. You know it as soon as you arrive: whereas border control in the USA is normally a far from pleasant experience, this time the guy asking me why I wanted to enter the country was like “Daffodils? Beautiful. Have a nice stay, welcome!” Later, when you ask a happy-looking lady where to find a taxi, she offers a free Covid test for their research, the only thing they wanted to know was from what country you were flying in. All very friendly and helpful, as soon as I arrived.
At the hotel, people were stilappy as ever, and I was informed they call this ‘Southern Hospitality’. What an experience.
The evening I arrived, everyone was still busy polishing their Daffodils and aligning every petal in their exposition. The prettiest Daffodils can win many prizes and awards, and people take the exhibition very seriously indeed. If the outer layer of petals has just the lightest crook, it might make them lose out on a first prize, so you really can’t have that. After the polishing and straightening of the petals, the flowers are placed in tin vases, which will make sure that all the Daffodils will be at the exact right height compared to the other flowers in the piece. It was around 3AM when the last people finished their stands.
The next morning, it was time for the jury to come in. Obviously, I asked if I was allowed to accompany them, and they gave me permission to do so. The organizer of the jury is Mr Kirby Fong, and when I told him I would like to explain the judgement in my newsletter, he told me in explicit detail every little thing the jury takes into account when giving a Daffodil a certain score. Within the jury, there are different groups of people who are concerned with different subcategories of the Daffodil.
There’s a group focusing on each of the different subcategories of Daffodils to compare them as best as possible. There are dozens of groups that have to be judged apart from each other, but when it comes to things like most beautiful flower, every member of the jury gets an equal vote.
Best Daffodil of the Show, La Delicatesse.
The absolute highlight of this weekend was by far the Best Flower of the entire show. This is really like a world champion that gets to reign that year, until during the next show, when the next Daffodil takes over the crown. And what do you know: the winner was La Delicatesse, submitted by Mr Kirby Fong, a Daffodil from Fluwel. It has never looked as flawless as this weekend!
Daffodil La Delicatesse
I imagine that there are a lot of you out there doing a little celebratory dance, having planted La Delicatesse yourself, as well. Congratulations, this means that you have this year’s world’s most beautiful Daffodil right there in your garden!
Did you skip out on La Delicatesse for your garden this year? No worries, you can still get her for next year! You can go to the website and use the ‘inform me when this item is available again’ button. You’ll be the first to know when you can order this flower, and then, you can have 2023’s world champion in your garden, too.
Before I stop writing I would like to share a lesson I learned from one of the jury members in Atlanta: if it looks like chicken and it smells like chicken… it’s time for dinner.
Carlos van der Veek
Here are some more photographs of the show: