We all know that The Netherlands supplies much of the world with beautiful flowers. But how much do we know about what goes on? According to the Royal Flora Holland website, they do about 4.6 billion euros in transactions and deal with 12.1 billion plants. There are over 30,000 species of Dutch flowers and plants involved. Those are huge numbers! I had no idea those statistics would be so high!
It’s no secret that I enjoy plants. I can care better them and I haven’t had a casualty in ages! So when Sander’s aunt invited me to visit a good friend, I couldn’t say no. Little did I know that I was going to get the chance of a lifetime!
Sander’s aunt is good friends with a breeder of Dutch flowers who has been in the family business since she was born. I’m going to call her M. The company started with her mother and father. Now they’re retired and she runs the business with her brother and a team of skilled workers.
Everything starts with tiny seeds that are no larger than a pinhead.
M walked us through the process of what it takes to get this seed to its final stage. A machine loads up the seeds and places them into a small round cake of special soil. The soil helps to trap moisture and allow the seeds to sprout. Then they’re placed in a temperature regulated chamber until sprouts emerge. After that they’re taken outside to get some sun and fresh water.
The tiny plants stay in these soil cakes until they are large enough to transplant into a pot of their own. The plants grow in a computer regulated greenhouse. When it’s too hot in the summer, the windows open and shades close automatically. Machines pump warm water in the winter to help keep the roots nice and toasty.
I understand now why those plastic plant pots have holes in the bottom. It’s also to allow the plants to receive water. Water from above has the potential to damage the flowers. These potted plants are lined up in long rows where water is pumped into channels. These channels feed the plants water from the holes in the plastic pots so that none of the flowers take damage!
I enjoyed going through the whole process from beginning to end! It was so cool to see one flower have so many variations in colors, shape of flowers, and even leave patterns! And there are other locations that spend their time breeding new variants too. M showed us how to gather pollen from one plant and spread it to another. This way they can choose which plants are the strongest to create the next generation. Everyone knows Dutch flowers for their elegance and beautiful appearance!
As a wonderful parting gift, M gave us a miniature version of her potted flowers. She’s growing cyclamen of normal and miniature size. This plant take 10 months to grow! You bet I’ll be posting updates with how my own plant journey will go.
M asked me if I had any plants at home and I was excited to say yes! I did mention that I don’t have flowering plants because it saddens me to see the flowers die. I’m going to do my best to show my tiny cyclamen the love that she shows to her plants!