Episode 37 - Inspirations from Alexandra Farms with Teresa Schafer
When Quynh went to Florabundance Design Days in January 2020, she met the lovely Teresa Schafer of Alexandra Farms. Alexandra Farms is the largest grower of garden roses in the world. Located in Bogotá, Colombia, the farm grows 60 varieties of those fragrant garden roses that florists (and we!) covet.
Teresa is the Communications Manager at Alexandra Farms and an expert at garden roses. We were thrilled when Teresa agreed to talk to us about all things garden roses and to learn more about her company
We are also excited to announce that we will be working with Alexandra Farms on a collaboration later this year! We cannot wait to get Alexandra Farms garden roses in our (and in our students’) hands! **After this Episode aired, we had to cancel/postpone this workshop due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Let’s first get to know Teresa and Alexandra Farms a bit:
1. Tell us about Alexandra Farms.
Alexandra Farms is a boutique grower specializing in nostalgic, romantic fresh-cut garden roses. Our farm is located in the incredibly fertile savannah of Bogotá, high in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, where the warm days and cool nights are perfect for growing roses. The company began in 2005 when our founder Jose R. Azout met David Austin and began testing his newly-launched cut rose varieties.
We worked with other long-established breeders from Europe and brought more varieties back to Colombia, where we established Alexandra Farms and began growing on a two-hectare farm. Over the next couple of years, we tested around 500 varieties to see how they performed in vases and to determine how best to ship them.
In 2008, we moved to a bigger farm and began to grow 12 varieties that made it through years of testing. Our company continues to grow each year! We test and launch new varieties and phase out others as demand and trends change. We are fortunate to be the world’s largest garden rose grower, harvesting more than 300,000 stems per week - that’s nearly 16 million stems per year!
2. What types of roses are grown at Alexandra Farms?
We grow 60 varieties of garden roses. They fall into four collections: Deluxe Garden Roses, David Austin Wedding Roses (we are the largest licensed grower of David Austin Wedding Roses), Princess Japanese Garden Roses, and Wabara Garden Roses. We collaborate with rose breeders around the world and follow meticulous production techniques. The result is garden roses with rich colors, full shapes, and long vase life. Many also have a fantastic fragrance. They are truly special flowers!
3. Where does Alexandra Farms ship their flowers?
Our garden roses are available all around the world! We ship to every major market.
4. Who purchases your flowers and how are your flowers purchased? How can one of our followers get a hold of your flowers?
Floral wholesalers and importers purchase our flowers and make them available to florists around the world. Florists can find our blooms at floral wholesalers, and the general public can purchase from their favorite florist - we recommend asking for the roses by name: "Alexandra Farms Garden Roses". They are also available through floral wholesale websites such as GardenRosesDirect.com.
5. What is your role at Alexandra Farms?
As Communications Manager, I handle marketing, advertising, partnerships, social media, education, outreach, website, and more for Alexandra Farms. I work closely with our customers, influential designers, and industry organizations around the world, supporting their business, design, and educational efforts.
6. Tell us about your organized trips to the farm in Bogotá.
Once a year, we host the first-place winners of our annual Garden Rose Design Contest (https://www.alexandrafarms.com/garden-rose-design-contest) and their guests at the farm. We tour the greenhouses and see where/how the garden roses grow; we tour the post-harvest area where our garden roses are graded, sorted, and packed by hand; and we view varieties that we're testing for possible future release. We also enjoy some time sightseeing in Bogotá before everyone returns home. Occasionally we host influential designers or educational groups, as well.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners?
Alexandra Farms is certified under the Florverde Sustainable Flowers seal. Florverde is an environmental and social certification confirming our commitment to environmental best practices, employment protections and the responsible treatment of people, and health and safety requirements. At Alexandra Farms, we believe in the importance of quality education.
To that end, we support the efforts of groups like European Master Certification, the American Institute of Floral Designers, the Society of American Florists, and more, as well as respected floral designers around the world, in their teaching efforts. Our website is a great resource for everything from proper care and handling techniques to learning how to pronounce the names of our varieties.
Learn more about Alexandra Farms by following them on social media:
WEBSITE | www.alexandrafarms.com
INSTAGRAM | @alexandrafarms