When deciding your course of action for 2018, remember, there’s a big difference between something that’s “trendy” and “a trend.” Think of a sparkler, which is nothing more than a big show for a short while that leaves you with nothing but a burnt mess. That, my darlings, is what “trendy” means to me.

I got to go to ProFlora in Bogota, Colombia last October and, at this incredible show, witnessed the arrival of some beautiful new varieties of flowers for 2018 and beyond! Now, most were outstanding, believe me, but like a lot of new colours, styles, and trends out there, until it hits the marketplace, we will never know what will stick or what will float like a lead balloon

I am so thrilled to see the simple understated carnation making a strong comeback, and I predict we will see this common bloom grow even more popular in the next few years! You wouldn’t believe how many options there are now! I saw so many new colours, variations in sizes (some as small as the head of a corsage pin!), and petal configurations. The details made all who looked at them fall in love with carnations all over again. Trust me, these ain’t the red, pink and white (or the blessed candy stripe) carnations we got 25 years ago, so just you wait and see what’s happening in the world of carnations. Likewise, I saw many new, colourful chrysanthemums so keep an eye out for some wickedly cool varieties coming up! (Fun fact: It takes more labour and energy to grow these underrated beauties than it does to grow roses.)

I also saw a lot of trendy offerings, too, like super-glittery flowers, buds dyed in all sorts of ghastly combinations, and other atrocities that I silently cried over. But look, we all can’t love everything—and thank goodness for that or the Kardashians would have been off the air ages ago.

I have peered into my crystal ball, looking for something new and profitable, and I have a few suggestions and thoughts:

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First, keep the word “green” in the forefront for installations. Yes, FINALLY, greenery is coming back into fashion in a big way, so after the years of seeing “cluster this” and “masses of that,” we’re using more combinations of beautiful foliage in bouquets and, in fact, through all portions of weddings and events. There ARE other choices than leatherleaf and tree fern, surprisingly enough, although these humble offering are holding their own nicely, as they play well with others.

The world has gone size-crazy, my darlings! That massive, throw-in-everything-you-can-and-drag-it-down-the-aisle bouquet is SO trendy, but, in my opinion, it’s like a fart that doesn’t smell—that is to say, just a bunch of noise. I fear its popularity will end the minute this season’s “gotta have it!” brides get carpal tunnel syndrome and bitch about it on social media.

The trend of “fusion” cooking has everyone mixing all sorts of cuisines (with varying degrees of success!), but in the floral world, there is a developing trend that is getting momentum and a lot of attention. “Tropical Nouveau,” a mix of tropical and exotic blooms in a bouquet with more of what we regard as traditional offerings is a glorious and exciting look that world-renowned designers like Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, EMC, and others have researched and developed for our enjoyment. I am all over this look and I KNOW we will be seeing this mix throughout the world in the years to come! Honestly, this is a keeper, my Petals, so start using orchids with carnations and roses and watch the beauty unfold.

Roses will always be popular, thank goodness! There are countless new varieties developed all the time, and it’s a guessing game to see which will stay around. Garden roses are still sizzling hot, and after being at Alexandra Farms and speaking with Joey Azout, I am pleased to report there are some beautiful offerings coming for 2018 and beyond! Boy, if you EVER get a chance to visit that farm and see the tens of thousands of glorious roses being harvested every day, I promise it will be worth the trip!

I’m seeing a lot of what are known as “Russian-cut” roses showing up at industry trade shows. These beauties are generally left on the plant longer to mature and develop, arriving to us more “open.” Yet, they perform wonderfully and are super for wedding bouquets and events. Look, these are SO popular in Russia (duh!) and throughout Europe. Like so many trends, this one is finally washing up on our shores!

P.S. I’m SO glad to see that the bald, slightly overweight look is still on trend or I’d be in trouble!

Neville MacKay
Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI, WFC is the owner of My Mother's Bloomers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a design director with Smithers-Oasis North America. He designed flowers for the 1988 Winter Olympics, as well as a long list of celebrities including Glen Close, Sir Elton John, and members of the British Royal Family. MacKay appears regularly on Canadian TV and travels internationally giving presentations about the impact of flowers.

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