In its fourth year as the Official Rose and Flower Care Company of the Tournament of Roses, Miracle-Gro won the Governor’s Trophy for best depiction of life in California in the 127th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2016. The float, “Life starts here,” was also awarded California Grown certification from the California Cut Flower Commission with 85 percent of the floral material being grown in-state. The float was designed by Stanley Meyer and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. With an iconic mission, trees laden with oranges, and home-grown flowers, it was pure California.
Harking back to the early years when parade entrants decorated carriages with flowers grown in their yards, Miracle-Gro invited TV handyman Ty Pennington and four other home gardeners to contribute their own California-grown flowers. Bees, birds and butterflies flitting around a generic California mission reflected Miracle-Gro’s commitment to pollinator gardens. The church, with a beautiful bell tower rising at the rear, represented the chain of 21 missions built along El Camino Real from 1769 to 1823. It honored the past, present, and future of the rich agricultural history of California and the high quality locally grown florals.
The gardeners caught a ride on the float, along with two Southern California flower farmers who provided some of the florals. The California flower industry has a $12.2 billion annual impact on the state’s economy, providing more than 4,500 jobs and contributing $1.7 million to California’s economy every day. In a nod to waterwise California gardens, many drought-tolerant plants and flowers were featured throughout the floral displays. The photo list below has more details on the flowering and riders.
The theme of the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016 was “Find Your Adventure.” If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email email@example.com.
Life starts here
Truly representative of California, the Miracle-Gro float featured a mission landscape with a courtyard, fountain, and gardens. In addition to drought-tolerant plants such as cacti, succulents, flax and agave, the float had 7,000 orange Milva roses mingled with orange gerbera and gold alstromeria. Typical of California gardens, cascades of bougainvillea winding over the structure were created with purple and hot pink alstromeria.
The seven riders included Ty Pennington, TV personality and “Miracle-Groer” from Venice, Calif., and flower farmers Mel Resendiz of San Diego and Harry Van Wingerden of Santa Barbara. Both those cities have beautiful mission churches. Other riders were “Miracle-Groers” Mud Baron, Pasadena; Bonnie Jo Manion, San Diego; Susan Phillips, Clovis; and Kim Markus, representing Miracle-Gro Company.
Beekeeper Kim Markus waves to the crowd from a garden filled with beehives and butterfly houses. The wings of the butterflies flapped up and down while bees circled around the hive. The natural hive hanging from the tree swung as the float moved. Flowering included fresh salal foliage, melaleuca bark, and orange marigold petals.
Sitting in the arcade
The curved arches around a central courtyard are typical of the mission style. Sitting beneath the arches at the far left is Mud Baron, project director for Muir Ranch at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Students grow and sell flowers and produce, and Miracle-Gro has supported expanding the pollinator garden on the property. The mission walls and the fountain were covered in a combination of rolled oats aged with ground cinnamon spice; sesame seed and ironed cornhusk created architectural details and the Spanish tile roof used dehydrated red bell pepper.
Recording the moment
Ty Pennington held out his cell phone to grab snapshots of the Rose Parade crowd from his perch on the Miracle-Gro float. Behind him, the fountain and pots, decorated in crushed walnut shells to create a terra cotta look, were filled with an assortment of gerberas, bird of paradise, hydrangea, larkspur, tulips, delphinium, bells of Ireland, lilies, alstromeria, lisianthus, calla lilies, tulips, protea and spray roses.
Spanish and Mexican tiles are ubiquitous throughout California, not only in missions but in civic buildings, churches, and private homes. They are frequently used as insets in stair risers, as these steps that Ty Pennington is sitting on. These are created with brown and gold flax seed, green split peas, cream sesame seed and blue sinuate statice. Pennington assisted Muir Ranch in its annual delivery of food Thanksgiving dinners to families in the Pasadena area last November.
Tiles in seeds, not clay
This photo was taken at Fiesta Parade Floats during Deco Week, the days prior to the Rose Parade. These tiles lined the pod of the Miracle-Gro float. It’s easy to see the composition, from center out: onion seed, orange lentils, green peas, blue statice, white rice. The yellow would likely be strawflower. The brush beside can be used for glue or to sweep off dust and debris.