The early Rose Parade grand marshals sat in a flower-covered buggy or on a horse. Ben Nighthorse Campbell rode a horse. But since Tin Lizzies were invented, most of the grand marshals have ridden in motorcars.
“It’s the first topiary on a car that I’m aware of,” FTD floral designer J. Keith White, AIFD CFD, said when we spoke on Monday. White has been decorating cars for the Tournament of Roses for eight years, and said he had fun coming up with a design for Jane Goodall.
“I always try to incorporate something that reflects the grand marshal,” White told us. For Paula Deen in 2011, he put sticks of butter in the floral array, and for J.R. Martinez, 2012 grand marshal and winner of Dancing with the Stars, he inserted mirror balls. Even so, it’s hard to beat the creativity of furry green chimps.
Goodall chose to ride in a carriage pulled by horses because of her commitment to ecological issues. “She wanted something horse-drawn rather than mechanical,” White said, and when Jane Goodall came to try out the carriage, he explained that while the chimps would swing slightly with the motion of the horse, they were not motorized.
The carriage, a reproduction of an elegant 1800s carriage provided by Frank and Adriana Leyendekker, recreates the rich flora of the African jungle where Goodall observed chimpanzees. Protea, bamboo, roses, freesia, and orchids are among the botanicals on the conveyance.
Jane Goodall will be joined for the ride by several children from Roots & Shoots, Goodall’s environment and humanitarian program for young people; her plush monkey Mr. H; and a rescued dog who will walk with his handler from the beginning of the parade to shortly after the turn from Orange Grove onto Colorado.
Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby was also on hand to try out her ride, a cherry-colored 1940 Packard Darrin one-Eight Victoria convertible from the collection of the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo. She and her husband Harlan made sure the seat had been raised enough for parade-goers to see her, and Patricia Gomez, AIFD, made sure that the coat Bixby would be wearing would complement the flowers.
Gomez is White’s right-hand florist and assisted with the decoration of the carriage and the seven automobiles that will be in the parade. Asked if the freezing temperatures of the past few nights had affected the cut flowers, she replied, “Yes, but these are special flowers,” and she bent over to gently coax them into staying fresh.
For more about Jane Goodall, check out “Jane Goodall, 2013 Rose Parade Grand Marshal: All the news”
The theme of the 124th Rose Parade and 99th Rose Bowl Game is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter, with the high points being the Rose Parade presented by Honda and the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Keep following your Tournament of Roses Examiner for the latest news and for upcoming announcements.
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