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