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Hydrangea grower Ron van Leeuwen:

"Fifteen minutes of thunderstorm can affect the entire crop"

The chalk on the windows shows the dependence on the weather. “If we have 15 minutes of thunderstorm, that can affect the entire crop.” We’re visiting Preferred Supplier Amortensia, growers of the popular cut hydrangea.

Grower Ron van Leeuwen shows the characteristic enthusiasm of the young entrepreneur. He’s not scared of the challenge posed by cut hydrangeas. “It’s tricky, because a hydrangea isn’t a rose that you could grow in virtually the same way all year round. You can reproduce a constant climate in those greenhouses.” At Preferred Supplier Amortensia the chalk on the windows stops the sunshine when it’s too strong. Ron: “They need real daylight, but not enough to destroy them. Hence the chalk. The real weather makes them the strong, fabulous flowers that they are.”

FleuraMetz buyer Wil van Aart endorses that. “You can spot it immediately. Really good hydrangeas have a particular air about them that you only get from a good experienced grower. Ron has been working on his own now for some 2 to 3 years, but he was trained well by his father Rinus and has also worked at other hydrangea growers.” The cut hydrangea is still a relatively new product - when Rinus started, it was still virgin territory.

Seasonal strategy
Ron: “When I started, I had six varieties. Now I still have four, and I know exactly what can be done with them. My strategy is more seasonal. All the varieties are in production almost the whole season long, but each peak at their own powerful moment.” He pays a lot of personal attention to his crop. “It requires a lot of adaptation to the weather. I haven’t got the heating or light on automatic pilot - I respond to what nature offers these fantastic flowers. I still find the way they respond to the weather, the amount of light and water to be the most amazing aspect.”

Knowing what the needs are
His eyes sparkle as he talks. Wil nods affirmingly: “You can see that this grower has a real passion for the product. That really is a benefit with cut hydrangeas.” He’s delighted that Fleurametz has been able to designate this grower as a Preferred Supplier. Ron also sees benefits in the collaboration. “Changes in quality are sometimes picked up less quickly at the clock auction. This can be communicated more directly through FleuraMetz so that the florist, wholesaler or arranger knows what sort of quality they can expect.”

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