Top designers from all over the world had breakfast together at Vreeken Bouvardia in Rijsenhout last Friday. The designers had come to Netherlands to visit growers and to create content for Floral Fundamentals.
The visit gave Jaap and Tineke Vreeken, whose company is one of the approximately 36 Floral Fundamentals members, the opportunity to show their bouvardia shrubs, which they’ve been growing for nearly thirty years. Jaap told the designers a little about the assortment. Vreeken – fourth generation grower – cultivates five varieties in different colours (red, white, purple, dark pink and light pink), on 5 hectares spread out over three greenhouses. The average production amounts to approximately 300,000 stems per week.
Vreeken grows the bouvardia shrubs on substrate. They’re perennial plants that live for about two to three years. Following each harvest, the plants are pruned, after which they come back. In summer, the growing time is ten weeks, in winter it’s twelve weeks.
Vreeken uses screens and lighting to play with the length of the days, in order to help his shrubs with both vegetative and generative growth, he explained to the designers. If a bouvardia shrub is exposed to more than 12 hours of daylight, it grows leaves. If it’s exposed to less than 12 hours of daylight, it produces flowers.
For one section, the nursery makes use of DC (direct current). They’re the first nursery in the world to do this. Direct current allows them to adjust the amount of light as required. It can be regulated per individual lamp. Vreeken can for example set the light intensity at 25% in the initial phase of the cultivation, increase it for the intermediate phase and reduce it again for the final phase. An excellent way to make sure the flowers get the exact amount of light they need, and also to save on energy.
Jaap Vreeken points out another advantage: Direct Current requires thinner cables, so you don’t need the same amount of copper. That means your investment is lower. In addition, the lamps don’t get as hot, which makes them last longer. Vreeken hopes he’ll be able to use DC throughout his nursery.
After their visit to Vreeken, the designers visited several other companies including Van der Lugt Lisianthus, Meijer Roses and De Haas Calla’s. On Saturday and Sunday, the designers set to work at the Boerma Institute. They used flowers from the Floral Fundamentals nurseries to make a wide range of creations, which were subsequently photographed and filmed. These kind of events take place four times per year. The content is distributed among florists all over the world via Facebook, an app, a website and a digital magazine.
Floral Fundamentals was founded three years ago. It was initiated by florist ‘guru’ Alison Bradley, Piet van Kampen of DGI and G-Fresh, and Steef van Adrichem of Anco. The founders had noticed that florists were finding it harder and harder to compete with the retail giants. “But the specialist florists, who know how to make a difference, are of utmost importance to us”, said Jaap Vreeken. Floral Fundamentals’ goal is to establish a connection between florists and growers. Their next step is to get the wholesalers more involved.
Vreeken feels that the promotion of bouvardia via Floral Fundamentals is having an impact. The content reaches thousands of florists all around the world. “The effect is difficult to measure of course, but it’s a good way to develop a broad network of ambassadors for our flowers.” The content can not only be downloaded via an app, the designers also use social media themselves, to share their creations.