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Floraculture

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MARKET FLOWERS
Cut flowers are flowers or flower buds (often with some stem and leaf) that have been cut from the plant bearing it. It is usually removed from the plant for indoor decorative use. Typical uses are in vase displays, wreaths and garlands. Many gardeners harvest their own cut flowers from domestic gardens, but there is a significant commercial market and supply industry for cut flowers in most countries. The plants cropped vary by climate, culture and the level of wealth locally. Often the plants are raised specifically for the purpose, in field or glasshouse growing conditions. Cut flowers can also be harvested from the wild.

The floral industry is one of the higher industries in many developing and underdeveloped countries. Floriculture as an industry began in the late 19th century in the United Kingdom, where flowers were grown on a large scale on the vast estates. The present day floral industry is a dynamic, global, fast-growing industry, which has achieved significant growth rates during the past few decades. In the 1950s, the global flower trade was less than US $3 billion. By 1994, it had grown to US $100 billion. In recent years, the floral industry has grown six percent annually, while the global trade volume in 2003 was US $101.84 billion.

GARDEN NURSERIES
Some of the items that can be found in US garden centers (US spelling), often called nurseries, include annual and perennial flowers, trees and shrubs, roses, container gardens, hanging baskets, houseplants, water gardening, seeds and bulbs, potting mixes, soil amendments and mulch, fertilizers and chemicals, pottery, garden tools and supplies, fountains and garden decor, much like their UK counterparts. Many US garden centers have other departments including wild bird feeding, floral, gift, outdoor furniture and barbecue grills, home decor, landscape design, landscaping services and pet supplies. Most garden centers have a large Christmas department during the holiday season. Some garden centers have added a cafe or coffee bar, but not like the restaurants found in some European garden centers.

EDIBLE FLOWERS
After falling out of favor for many years, cooking and garnishing with flowers is back in vogue once again. Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures. Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign.

Today, many restaurant chefs and innovative home cooks garnish their entrees with flower blossoms for a touch of elegance. The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, do not add to many other flavors that will over power the delicate taste of the flower. Today this nearly lost art is enjoying a revival

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