After discovering the Aalsmeer auction and Hilverda de Boer, we travelled to the city of Aalsmeer where we visited one of the oldest lilac and viburnum growers in Holland. With five generations before them, growing flowers is a largely a family tradition in Aalsmeer.
With only seven employees this farm tends to 120,000 plants and produces over a million stems each season. Much of the process cannot be automated, so each farmer is personally responsible for the growth and production of the plants. The grounds include a series of greenhouses and fields that are connected by tiny canals. After each growing cycle farmers must move the plant-roots by boat to the fields where they must rest for two years before they are moved back to the greenhouses to produce more flowers.
Each flower is sorted by hand by the number of heads, stem length and quality.
The plants are not rooted into the ground but rather rest on beds of rich black soil from the canals and watered every hour. Plants are grafted to 80 year old root stock.
Our next day in Amsterdam began at Historic Aalsmeer where they conduct the traditional flower growing methods and techniques from generations past. At this historic farm they honor antiquated growing traditions and the importance of this heritage.
We began our day with a lesson by Dutch Master Florist Rob Plattel. Rob studied horticulture and floral design on the master level in Amsterdam. Rob’s unique style called Vegetative Design allows the flower’s natural aesthetic and qualities to create the design. In this class, we played with the concept of natural and decorative design creating three different concepts encompassing different qualities of both styles. We finished with a bouquet blending the two themes of organic and mannered design.
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