TOKYO, Japan, 6 December, 2020: Growers, traders, florists and a panel of experts judges came together at this year’s virtual OTA Flower of the Year Awards on Friday 4 December. This year’s Grand Prize winner was grower’s alliance Kakibukai from Kagawa Prefecture which submitted a lavender-blue Aster.
Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd celebrates its annual a Flower of the Year Awards to showcase the incredible achievement of Japanese flower growers and highlight the rare and often trendsetting beauty of their breeding breakthroughs.
From the approximately 200,000 varieties of flowers supplied this year to OTA, four growers (and their cool new flowers) it out and where crowned this year’s winner.
An independent jury of expert judges, evaluated the shortlist provided by OTA Floriculture Research Institute LTD (a subsidiary company of Ota Floriculture Auction Co., Ltd.) on a wide range of criteria such as distinctness, uniformity, stability, attractiveness, shelf life and commercial potential. OTA’s Flower of the Year Awards are unique in that judges not only assess the flowers on their technical aspects but also on their consumer value and ‘trendiness’.
Speaking of trends, Japan’s signature colour this year is pink, especially with blueish and greyish tones. Dried flowers continue to gather popularity, and it extends to the trend of dry texture and ‘shabby-chic’ colour even for fresh flowers.
There were three award categories.
Grower：Grower’s alliance Kakibukai, part of the JA Mitoyo cooperative
Cultivar: ‘Mash Lavender’
While the overall flower trend is moving towards small flowers, ‘Mash Lavender’ stands out proudly due to its unusual XL blooms measuring a diameter of around 7cm. The cultivar brings new blood to the existing range of asters and steals the show even grown a disbudded variety. The judges praise the flower’s long shelf life.
Although Japan’s area devoted to cut flower production has significantly declined over the last few years, aster growing is slowly but steadily gaining momentum.
Taking advantage of its benign climate all year round, Kagawa Prefecture has a lot of potential for future flower growing especially when it comes to off season production. This is the first time a grower from Kagawa Prefecture won OTA’s coveted award.
◆Outstanding Performance Award◆
Grower：Yagi Rose Breeding Farm
The excellence award went to the remarkable Rosa ‘Vase’ , bred by Mr Hayato Yagi from Yagi Rose Breeding Farm. The winning variety has bluish dry-textured petals and classic shabby-chic leaves combined in a never-seen before rose variety. Mr Yagi told FCI that he learned a lot about rose trends during his stay in the Netherlands for his study. When he spotted ‘Vase’ in his own rose beds he intuitively felt it was something really special.
However, his mentor – his father – objected by saying, “This is no good.” Even so, he continued to improve the variety holding firm belief in creating variety that would stand not matter which setting, even when displayed as one single stem in a vase. ‘Vase’, of course, is named after flower vase and has been among OTA’s bestselling varieties this year.
Shizuoka Prefecture is a famous flower producing area, and its yields in cut roses are the second largest in Japan.
◆New Flower Encouragement Award◆
Variety: Sinzii Silver
Limonium ‘Sinzii Silver’ is an elegant and pretty variety with lots of dry-textured blueish-pink florets. This winning variety features good shelf life and may be used as dried flower. The colour of its calyx perfectly matches the recent colour trend.
The annual yield of Limonium in Wakayama Prefecture is the second largest in Japan. Wakayama, blessed with a mild climate, is Japan’s epicentre of Limonium especially when it comes to off season production.
Limonium ranks fourth in Japan’s domestic flower production, after Chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses. More recently, breeders created a range of exciting new varieties for use in flower bouquets. This is the first time that growers from Wakayama Prefecture scooped up the prestigious OTA Awards.
◆New Flower Encouragement Award◆
Grower：YMS Co., Ltd.
Cultivar: ‘Grevillea Gold’
The lanceolate, lush green leaves of ‘Grevillea Gold’ are fascinating and copper gold underneath. Japan imports this cut foliage from Israel. Florists and bouquet factories use it bouquets and wreaths in both dried and fresh form.
It has increasingly grown popular with florists who say that by adding one leaf of Grevillea gives any flower arrangement more structure and beauty. A bundle of this new Grevillea is also a popular feature in home decor.
The award winner, YMS Co., Ltd. is one of the leading flower import companies in Japan, importing flowers from more than 20 countries. YMS follows a market-oriented strategy and regularly consults with Israeli growers from an early stage requesting for larger production.