What ARE Those Olympic Bouquets?

(Photo Credit)

Have you wondered, as I have over the past couple of weeks, just what those monochromatic Olympic bouquets were made of?  I did a little investigation this morning and discovered some interesting facts about these once-in-a-lifetime arrangements.

June Strandberg of Just Beginnings in Surrey, B.C. and Margitta Schulz of Margitta’s Flowers in North Vancouver are the two florists who were awarded the contract in 2008 to create the 1,800 bouquets required for the Olympics.

According to Canadian Florist magazine, the bouquets contain flowers that are grown in B.C. and Canada, but cannot be sourced from the natural outdoors in February. The predominately green bouquets contain eye-catching green hypericum berries, delicate green spider mums and broad leaf greens. The foliage consists of leatherleaf fern, loops of monkey grass and aspidistra leaves.  The stems are wrapped in recycled paper and tied with a simple royal blue ribbon bow.

More fascniating facts about these unique bouquets, quoted directly from Canadian Florist magazine:

> All of the flowers and greens will be carefully hand selected and shaped into the bouquets by marginalized women, who may be recovering from addiction, leaving prison, exiting the sex trade, or who have been victims of violence, as well as by other women they train with who are changing careers to become florists.

> The athlete bouquets are a required element for Victory Ceremonies by the IOC at all Winter Games. At Summer Games, medal-winning athletes receive a bouquet, as well as an olive wreath. Under IOC technical and protocol rules, the bouquets must be 20 centimetres to 30 cm in length and about 25 cm in diameter.

> Flowers and greenery with little fragrance and pollen count are generally preferred since they lessen the chance of allergic reactions. VANOC wanted to wrap the bouquets in dried cedar but learned some people can have severe reactions to the oil found in the bark so the idea was nixed. Long stems of grey and white pussy willows, known for their furry catkins, that grow wild across the country were also considered but dropped because of safety issues ― when a bouquet is tossed into the crowd it could cause injury if it contains pointy materials. The longevity and durability of the bouquet and the hardiness of the greenery in wintery conditions for an extended period of time were also determining factors in the selection.

> Organizing Committees are encouraged to design and use plants that represent the region where the Games are being held and that reflect the Look of the Games colour palette.

(Photo by Reuters, Times Colonist)

Above, Scott Moir’s bouquet goes sailing during a hard-earned victory whoop!


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

26 thoughts on “What ARE Those Olympic Bouquets?”

  1. I have been wanting to see those bouquets in something more than a profile shot. Thanks for showcasing them.

    Saw his mum’s go flying last night, and thought Whoops! but it still looked great. Isn’t that a great story? There was a huge article in the Vancouver Sun last year about the florist that won the contract. She is amazing, it is a very heartwarming story.


  2. Thank you, Nancy;-) I’ve wondered the same thing but never thought to look into it! I watched this couple take the gold last night…I had tears in my eyes as they stood and sung the Canadian National Anthem…so very thrilling for them! They were indeed fabulous! It’s a great shot of the victory ‘whoop’ causing the flowers to disperse! I didn’t notice that on tv;-)

  3. Such lovely and distinctive bouquets! I know fellow Canadian Jodi of Bloomingwriter must especially love these since she is so partial to green flowers. This was fascinating, Nancy; I had no idea there were specific rules about the bouquets given to athletes. Pussy willows would have been so pretty, but I understand their decision to nix them:)

  4. I love this post, Nancy, and thanks for the input … last night was amazing, wasn’t it! I have so enjoyed watching the Olympics in the heart of your beautiful Canada. Holding hands in friendship, *hugs).

  5. Nancy girl I had no idea how complex in thought and presence these bouquets were .. I thought they were very pretty but now knowing the story behind them .. well they are amazing : )
    thanks for the information about them .. I might have missed that !

  6. Really really interesting Nancy. Thanks for researching this and sharing. I especially like that the bouquets were made by marginalized women. Really wonderful.

  7. I wondered what those bouquets of green were. They look much prettier close up. On the television they look terrible. Like bouquets of broccoli or green kale. A touch of white would have gone a long way here.I probably will get booed for this comment. It is a personal taste thing I know.

    Hi Lona — a little colour would have been nice, too, but I like them as they are. I wonder if the all-green theme is attached to the olive leaf wreath that is used for summer Olympics? Just a thought. :) The bouquet is designed in keeping with the green, blue and white Vancouver colour theme. I little white would make them pop, perhaps, though the mums are more a chartreuse than dark green.

  8. Wonderful post Nancy. I’d wondered what they were comprised of, but hadn’t bothered to invest the energy to look it up. The florists did a wonderful job using flora that grows in the region, and still made the bouquets look both modern and elegant.

  9. On TV they look like broccoli wrapped in corn husks. Good thing they look good close up because they are completely innocuous from afar.

  10. I appreciate the fact that the flowers are native and non allergenic but they look like a bunch of broccoli. Not very pretty from a distance. Maybe a pinecone or something more distinctive would have been better. Evertime they were shown on TV everyone in y family started laughing

  11. My husband and I have both said at the same time that they are terrible bouquets, they look like a bunch of broccoli! So that’s how we feel. I’ve even noticed the strange looks they get from the athletes, one even throws her’s away. I wonder why?

  12. I actually found you by googling “olympic bouquets”. I was looking for an explanation of the flowers & greenery used as well as the color. You came up first or second, I forget, but I clicked on yours and here’s this lovely blog. Yay!

  13. Hello
    I am Olivia.I increase the fact that the flowers are individual and non allergenic but they visage like a collection of broccoli. Not very pretty from a size. Maybe a pine cone or something Solon characteristic would change been ameliorate. Ever time they were shown on TV everyone in y descent started

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