Even as a child Beate Zillmer wanted to continue her father's nursery in Uchte, a small town in the south of Lower Saxony/Germany. Following her apprenticeship the time had come: in 1994, she took over her parents' company with bamboo, grasses, heather plants, conifers, Christmas trees, and bedding and balcony plants. Out of this 'general store', as Beate Zillmer lovingly describes the nursery, she created a seedling company for hardy perennials and grasses together with her husband Reinhard Meier-Zillmer. Now, approximately ten million seedlings per year are produced, consisting of 80 different grasses and around 1,700 different perennials.

Hardy perennials – from the field
The hardiness of the perennials is especially important to Beate Zillmer and Reinhard Meier-Zillmer. The mother plants are therefore planted in a field. What is cultivated here can also survive the winter – according to Beate Zillmer these plants are then 'garden worthy'. The company has now reached the impressive size of around 15 hectares. Of this, 1.5 hectares are under glass and polytunnel, around 2 hectares are outside and parking areas, and the large remaining area is field. 'That was exactly what we wanted right from the start. A field', says Reinhard Meier-Zillmer, smiling.

Task sharing as a success factor
The sales area comprises the whole of Europe. The company predominantly sells its products to long-term customers. The company made a conscious decision not to maintain its own fleet. This means it can stay flexible and supply customers without having costs standing 'in the yard' during quieter periods. The basis and foundation for the company's success is the couple's well-functioning task sharing: Reinhard Meier-Zillmer takes care of the horticultural side, Beate Zillmer the commercial. Together with their employees, there is a constant search for improvement in production techniques, workplace design and cultivation management while maintaining high product quality demands. Here, all employees can contribute their ideas.

Long-term relationships, stringent quality demands and fun
For the Zillmers, their employees have a high priority. To them, harmonious relationships within the company and a long-term employment relationship, such as training apprentices from the very beginning, are invaluable assets. To give something back to their employees, there is the daily company sport, for example, which is really well accepted by the staff. 'The aim is simply to loosen up a little and have some fun together. Especially for work done standing up this is really important', Reinhard Meier-Zillmer reports.

Regardless of whether customer or supplier – the couple has a similarly balanced and long-term relationship with their business partners, including Pöppelmann. The company has always relied on TEKU seedling trays. Here, not only the quality of the products is decisive. Over time, the trays were individually optimised in cooperation with Pöppelmann TEKU to meet Zillmer's needs and demands. This long-term cooperation, Beate Zillmer and Reinhard Meier-Zillmer say, has always been reliable and a true partnership. And therefore for both parties, simply 'recommendable!'.

For more information:
Pöppelmann GmbH & Co. KG
T: +49 4442 982-1605 or
E: teku@poeppel­mann.com