A late night for florists preparing coveted garland of roses

A late night for florists preparing coveted garland of roses
It takes a group several hours to get it done. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
It takes a group several hours to get it done. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The garland of roses is one of the most coveted prizes in horse racing. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The garland of roses is one of the most coveted prizes in horse racing. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The garland of roses is a prized possession of the Kentucky Derby. It takes hours to hand sew over 450 roses that are each inserted into their own water vial.

"No sleep is in the schedule," Master Florist Carol Besler said.

Besler said there are very few hours between finishing and delivering the garland, and she is used to the tight turn around.

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"Kroger started crafting garland roses back in 1987 and I've been with this project ever since," she said.

Besler said in 31 years the roses have changed four times. The garland is now made up of Freedom Roses.

"It's a certain color, size and it fits well on the blanket," Allison Gousha explained.

Gousha is a part of the team that spends several months planning the rose garland. She said every year around 7,000 people visit her team while they work on the Derby trophy.

"Seeing it draped across that winning thoroughbred -- that is when it really touches the heart," Besler said.

The florists said the champions could savor the moment longer if they resist plucking the roses from their trophy.

"That definitely stinks because then they can't preserve it or save it or anything," Gousha said.

On Derby morning the garland of roses and jockey's bouquet are escorted by police in a chilled box to Churchill Downs.

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