VDW Plant from Lokeren won gold last week with their Euonymus #Easygreen concept in the competition for the Florall awards at the Belgian trade fair for ornamental plants and nursery stock products. In the category Varieties, tree grower Willy De Nolf was one of the award winners, just like last year.
The Florall awards jury praised VDW Plant for their innovative marketing/PR concept. It involves a visual display for the show cart or table, consisting of attractive pictures and text. “The plant isn’t just suitable for hedges, but can also be pruned into shapes and used as a solitary plant. That’s what we’re trying to convey through images and text”, explained Inge de Clercq, co-owner of the company. “The concept puts a spotlight on the possible uses and versatility of the green Euonymus”, agreed the jury in their report.
The ornamental plant company, which also grows garden azaleas, is trying to take advantage of the crisis in the boxwood market with their new marketing campaign. “The demand for boxwood has been decreasing in Belgium and the Netherlands, due to the box tree moth. People are looking for an alternative. We can offer an alternative with our Euonymus”, said De Clercq. The concept wasn’t just popular with the trade fair organisers, the market seemed to like it too. Intratuin for example, has shown an interest and said they would like to use the display table next year. VDW Plant’s Euonymus sales and production have gone up by 20-30 percent since the arrival of the box tree moth.
Willy De Nolf dominates podium
In the category Varieties, tree grower Willy De Nolf was the main supplier with seven out of the total of eleven entries for this part of the Florall competition. It was therefore not surprising that the company from Waregem dominated the podium, with place one and two.
They received gold for their Morus rotundiloba Mojo Berry, a mini mulberry, which grows to around 1.5 metres tall. The jury liked how this mulberry is particularly drought and heat resistant and that flowering develops on new as well as old growth, which makes it easier to prune.” The jury felt that the product fits in well with the trend of ‘multifunctional plants’, which thrive on a patio or balcony as well as planted in the garden.”
The silver medal went to Weigela florida Picobella Rosa, also from Willy De Nolf, but sourced from Dutch breeder Bert Verhoef. The jury appreciated the plant’s versatility, as it is suitable for pots as well as the garden. Another aspect pointed out by the jury was its long flowering period, from May until October.
Bronze medal winner not yet on the market
The bronze medal was awarded to Lagerstroemia x hybrid Miss Frances of ornamental plant nursery Devriese-Luyssen from Wingene. With the strong presence of Willy De Nolf, owner Ingrid Luyssen was surprised to receive an award. “The plant is most beautiful when it’s in bloom, and that wasn’t the case.” Nonetheless, the jury was able to recognise its qualities and said the bright red flowers were a real eye-catcher during the bloom period.
The beautiful flowers were also what attracted the grower to this plant. “We always test new varieties ourselves, to see what they look like in bloom. We got this plant from the United States two years ago and found that it turns a beautiful red when it blooms. It attracted a lot of attention at the nursery.” The entrepreneurs decided to plant around a hundred cuttings. Not enough, they feel in hindsight. Given the bronze medal and all the positive reactions we got at the fair, we should probably have produced more plants. “On the other hand, we only had a few plants, they don’t supply you with ten thousands of cuttings of course”, said Luyssen. The plant won’t reach the market for another couple of years.
Devriese-Luyssen has been growing Lagerstroemia varieties for a number of years. Their core business used to be the cultivation of the Flemish bay tree. “Initially, there was no demand for Lagerstroemia, we really had to push it onto the market”, remembers Luyssen. In the meantime, the interest has increased, but unfortunately, the grower couldn’t take advantage of it at the fair. “The flowering period of outdoor plants is difficult to predict. We sold many plants in bloom last week, but it was hard to find one to bring to the fair today. We’ll have to wait a few more weeks.” The grower’s assortment of Lagerstroemia has become the largest in Europe over the past couple of years, according to Luyssen. “We’ve got more than 100 varieties now.”
Here you can read an article about the Florall awards 2018