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silletero Jhon Jairo Grajales silletero Jhon Jairo Grajales Esther Arteaga

‘Silleteros’ Reveal Spectacular Gardens in Santa Elena Traditional-Flower Contest

Published in Culture Written by  July 22 2016 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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Medellin’s 59th annual Desfile de Silleteros (Flower-Carriers Parade) this year is expected to draw more than 800,000 in-person visitors -- plus hundreds of thousands of TV viewers -- for an event that provokes amazement, tears, elation and pride.

But behind this spectacle -- this year on Sunday, August 7 -- are the gardens cultivated by generations of traditional flower growers in the Santa Elena district in the eastern mountains above Medellin.

This year, the “Corporacion de Silleteros de Santa Elena” (the flower-carriers trade association) sponsored a contest to reward participating silleteros that maintain artisanal cultivation of certain types of traditional flowers -- some varieties of which unfortunately have become exceedingly rare.

This year, the winner of the contest would get an all-expenses paid vacation to a Caribbean beach resort – a relatively modest compensation for the months and years of toil and dedication to gardens that yield beauty, pride and satisfaction, but don’t generate a cash benefit.

To see what’s behind this contest, Medellin Herald accompanied a group of independent judges -- including local artists and experts from the Club de Jardineria de Medellin – in visits (July 19 and 20) to more than a score of artisanal “fincas” (little farms and gardens) in numerous “veredas” (neighborhoods) in Santa Elena.

For example: One such farm we visited in the “El Porvenir” neighborhood – accessible only via footpath, and owned by silletero Jhon Jairo Grajales (see photo) – featured a spectacular collection of multicolored “Margarita Africana” (Arctotis stoechadifolia).

Judges ranked the gardens for flower variety, quality, creativity, esthetic presentation, organization, and perseverance in maintaining certain traditional flowers.

What follows are a few highlight photos from the silletero-garden visits:

Read 4110 times Last modified on Last modified on July 22 2016

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Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

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