12/28/2011 05:27 pm ET | Updated Feb 27, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Every New Year, the world turns it's eyes toward Pasadena, California for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. This year's parade will have 43 floats, 21 bands and 18 equestrian units marching with 400 horses. A domestic audience of 47 million people and an international audience of more than 300 million in 220 countries will view the parade. All of the floats are covered with organic matter, such as palm fronds, coconut, seaweed, seeds, bark, vegetables and, of course, stunningly beautiful roses in amazing colors.

The rose is the national flower of the United States and we give roses for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, as well as for weddings, funerals and anniversaries. Most of our supermarket roses are now imported from Central and South America and we have lost much of our domestic production. However, Eufloria Flowers in Nipomo, California, on the Central Coast, continues to deliver to connoisseurs throughout the USA as well as to locals, who bring them home from their neighborhood farmer's markets.

Andreas Koch, the owner of Eufloria Flowers and a sixth generation horticulturist that originated from Denmark, shared the creative history of his nursery with us. The greenhouses are American, the roses are Dutch and German, the coconut mulch in which the roses are grown is from Sri Lanka, and much of the software that controls the greenhouse environment and fertilization scheme is Canadian.

Gone are the days when a seed was thrown into the ground and left to find it's way to the sun. Plants are now fed hydroponically and the nutritional program and recycling of water is carefully monitored. Harmful insects are fought with predator mites and highly skilled teams of experienced growers nurture the plants 24/7.

The family's devotion to flowers originally began when his great, great, great grandfather was the royal gardener to King Frederick VI at Frederiksberg Castle in Denmark. Since that time, the family has ventured far afield, with Andreas' father, Mogens Koch, establishing nurseries in both Nipomo, California and Vancouver, Canada, while Andreas' uncle, Otto Koch continued the business in Denmark.

Eufloria roses have won many awards and their roses have decorated floats and the grand marshal's car for two decades at the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Creating award-winning roses with vibrant colors, fragrance and longevity is a delicate blend of science and art. Developing today's high-end roses takes a systems-design approach with sustainability in mind. Every detail, from location, water conditions and selection of rose varieties is carefully planned and tested.

So as you watch the Rose Parade this year on Monday, January 2nd or just stop and smell the roses, you are taking part in a uniquely American tradition that celebrates life, family and national history. Happy New Year!