A visit to the Netherlands

A planned visit to The Netherlands to meet some of our suppliers turned into two trips – not because of any airport delays or travel problems, but because the first visit was so interesting and inspiring that we just had to go back for a round two as soon as possible.

It’s safe to say that not all flowers are the same – we’re very selective about who we work with, so it’s really important for us to meet the growers and learn more about their approach. All of our suppliers are family businesses – many now in their third generation – and without exception they share an incredible passion and depth of knowledge. These are some of the most highly-regarded and successful growers in the world, but they are still working to innovate and improve, which is as inspiring as it is reassuring.

We buy most of our roses from Meijer Roses in South Holland – generally considered to be the best growers of White Avalanche and Sweet Avalanche roses.

They produce beautiful flowers, consistent in terms of size and colour, and packaged so well to ensure they reach us in the best condition. They have a room in their greenhouse where they test a batch of each of the roses that they grow in a vase, checking the quality, making sure they open fully and seeing how long they last – all of our growers are committed to keeping their standards high and it’s such a pleasure to work with their flowers.

The scale of the greenhouses really takes your breath away – we visited two which were each 12 hectares in size, with flowers as far the eye could see. Our growers are all very focused on making their process as sustainable as possible, with many already using LED lights in the greenhouses to reduce their carbon footprint.

Pesticides are now banned in The Netherlands, so the growers use insects to control pests rather than using chemicals. They even cats living in the greenhouses to deal with any mice, rather than using poison!

Water is pumped around the flowers and any excess is collected in a channel below and recirculated so that none is wasted. The next focus will be on using geothermal energy to heat the greenhouses rather than gas – at least two of the growers thought that this would be possible within the next two years.

This was such a fantastic trip – we came home full of ideas and are excited to see how the growers continue to adapt their processes while bringing us such high quality flowers.