Formula for Shipping Floral Show Entries
Francis W. Mosher Jr., Woodacre, California
Day is dawning now for a truly national Rhododendron Show. Already experimental work in shipping trusses has been started by Howard W. Oliver, of Menlo Park, California, a member of the San Mateo County chapter, A.R.S.
He has developed a "soda pop" liquid formula replacing water and has secured a supply of specially designed foam plastic containers which together with over-size glass test tubes will soon enable him to ship to and compete in rhododendron shows anywhere in the United States and possibly overseas in Australia and New Zealand.
His experimental formula, now under test, consists of one gallon of Canada Dry ginger ale, one teaspoonful napthalene acetic acid, and two teaspoonfuls of vitamin B-1. Mr. Oliver in January, 1973 successfully shipped 100 camellia blooms to Minneapolis where his brother-in-law entered them in competition. Addition of a fruit freshener formula has kept stamens on white camellias from turning brown, a major difficulty in long distance shipment.
Entries from eastern and western rhododendron growers were featured in the rhododendron shows held in connection with the 1972 San Francisco A. R. S. convention and at the 1973 Pittsburgh convention. Winner of a trophy at the former was Dr. August Kehr, of Silver Spring, Maryland. Other entries came from Medford, Portland and Seattle. At Pittsburgh, the Tacoma chapter won a special award.
Michigan State horticulturists have been using 7-Up, Sprite and Fresca in recent experiments which clearly prolong considerably the life of cut roses. Their formula consists of one quart of "soda pop", one quart of water, and one-half teaspoon of chlorine bleach, the latter slows down bacterial growth. Rose experts report that the citric acid and carbonation reduce the growth of bacteria which clog flower stems, thereby interfering with water absorption.
Technical assistance is being given Mr. Oliver by the wholesale floral shipping firm of Zappetini & Company, pioneers in air freight shipment from San Francisco to Eastern market centers.