The last few days have been a whirlwind of frantically getting myself organised to travel to Holland to film for the Fusion Flowers Fabulous Freesia Competition. As the winner, my prize was to fly to Amsterdam to film a video tutorial showing how I made my winning design (below). To say I was slightly nervous would be a massive understatement!
It was an early start on Tuesday which called for strong coffee while I waited for Ingrid from Fresh Retail to take me to her house to start filming. We were smack bang in the middle of the Westland area on the outskirts of Amsterdam and surrounded by miles and miles of glasshouses. This was my 4th visit to Amsterdam and it still fills me with awe at the size of some of the buildings!
Filming the tutorial was as nerve-wracking as I expected, especially when some of the materials I needed were not there and a small amount of ‘winging it’ was required.
The afternoon was a lot more relaxing and I visited one of the largest Dutch Freesia growers – family run Hofland Freesia – and was given a guided tour by third-generation Freesia Grower Erik Hofland. It was truly fascinating so I took lots of pictures of the entire process to show you!
This was the sight when we first walked in… fresh beds of soil closest to us ready for planting – then week old planted bulbs underneath the white aggregate and then further down the glasshouse were more mature plantings.
These rows are a new peach coloured variety, exclusive to this grower, that will be ready to harvest in March 2017, and I promise to bring some to The Flower Studio for you to see!
Photographs do not do justice to the epic scale of this business…. perhaps a video will help?
Each area of glasshouses was set to a different light level and temperature depending on the variety of Freesia growing there and its expected harvest date. It was a really gloomy day outside but you can see in the picture below how ‘sunny’ it was inside!
We had just missed the main harvest for the day, so there wasn’t much colour on the plants, but tomorrow more will have opened ready to cut.
These buckets are all ready to transport to the auctions for tomorrow morning’s market…
This is another new variety – Orion – a beautifully large pale pink flower with a delicate scent.
Each bulb sends up a single main flower, which is picked and sent as a premium cut flower – the sort you will find in The Flower Studio and quality florist shops. The side shoots produce smaller flowers, which this grower sends to Marks & Spencer for their bunches of Freesia.
Once the plants have finished flowering, they are pulled up and dried out. The bulbs are cleaned and stored and replanted the following year.
This was definitely the warmest room in the place!
There was just time for a quick coffee, obligatory cheese and tulips purchases and then off to Schipol airport for the flight home… Keep your eyes peeled for the video tutorial which we will be sharing very soon!