Belgium will be the partner country of the IPM Essen in 2019. The partnership was put under the motto 'Rooted in Craftsmanship Together'. The words have now been followed by deeds within the framework of a tree planting event. Since November 12, a summer linden has decorated the Messe Essen site. The tree has found its place in front of the new East Fair Building on the side towards Norbertstrasse.
Together with Oliver P. Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen, and Helmut Rüskamp, Vice-President of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Horticultural Association, the guests who had travelled from Belgium (i.e. Koen Vanswijgenhoven, Regional Manager for Germany of the Flanders' Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM) in Brussels, Pieter Van Oost, Managing Director of the Belgian Nurserymen and Growers Federation (AVBS), and Lucien Verschoren, Chairman of the AVBS Specialist Group on the Tree Nursery Sector) took hold of spades in order to plant a 2.20-metre-high Tilia platyphyllos 'Zelzate' (summer linden) on the Messe Essen site. A specially produced plaque with the inscription "Tilia platyphyllos 'Zelzate' - Gift from Belgium - Partner Country of IPM 2019" was placed in commemoration of this special moment.
"We are pleased to have an enduring monument to our commitment as the partner country of IPM ESSEN 2019 by planting the 'Zelzate'. We are all the more pleased about that because we can also make a small but valuable contribution to climate protection with this event," according to Koen Vanswijgenhoven. The summer linden has a permanently compact crown with an oval to pyramidal shape and is characterised by tightly closed foliage coverage. The dark-green leaves are almost round and have diameters from six to twelve centimetres. They are slightly hairy on the underside. Hanging yellow panicles form in June and July and round fruits with delicate hairs emerge from these later on. This extremely disease-resistant Tilia grows up to a height of twelve to fifteen metres and a width of four to five metres in the crown. The foot of the tree is decorated by ten hydrangeas which are called Hydrangea paniculata 'Bobo' and exhibit white, subsequently delicately pink-coloured panicles from July to September.
"Belgium is one of the most important exhibitor nations at IPM Essen and has been involved since the first edition. We are connected by a long partnership. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for this unique gift which we see as a living symbol of our trusting cooperation. We are eagerly awaiting the next world's leading fair for horticulture," said Oliver P. Kuhrt.
The summer linden in Essen is being planted as a representative of the entire Belgian tree nursery sector which constitutes an important branch of the green sector in the kingdom. Tree nursery products worth all of 104 million Euro have been exported in the past year. Thus, Belgium is one of the top-five European exporters.
Around 870 tree nurseries are located in Belgium and produce their plants on an area of 5,300 hectares. 80 percent of this area is accounted for by ornamental trees and shrubs. Nearly one third of the tree nursery products are exported. Thanks to the short delivery routes, Germany is in fourth place amongst the most important purchasers of Belgian tree nursery products behind France, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
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