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NL: Christmas cut flowers growing in the 'Green Heart'

On October 24, Hamifleurs paid a visit to Kwekerij F. Kuiper & Sons, where they were welcomed by Sietse. Together with his brother Ron, he runs a 6-hectare Skimmia nursery in the middle of "het Groene Hart" (the green heart): Boskoop, the Netherlands.

F. Kuipers & Sons was founded in 1962 by the father of the brothers. Previously, Skimmia were grown as garden plants, but since 2008, the company has specialised in the Skimmia as cut flowers and they are offered at the auction. These cut flowers are often used in Autumn and Christmas bouquets. 30% of the production is painted in 10 different colours such as, gold, white and glitter for the Christmas period.

What is special about this nursery is that the vast majority is outside. Outside, the Skimmia get more (sun)light, creating the beautiful dark red buds. When frost is imminent, all plants are placed on carts and moved to a covered location. As a result, the quality of the Skimmia is maintained and Kuipers & Sons stands out from its competitors.

F. Kuipers & Sons offer two types of the dark red Skimmia - the Rubinetta and the popular Rubella. The Rubinetta is cultivated for the long stems - this type is used for incorporating in bouquets. The Rubella is the most popular type. It has nice full buds, and is often used for painting during the Christmas period. These are not the only species Kuipers has at the nursery, green varieties such as Vinci and Snow White are also grown. They are also fully engaged in developing new species.

The Skimmia has been in the nursery for a total of two years. After one year, the flowers of the annual plants are broken away, so that the second year they have extra branches and flowers. The plants are also potted and they are put outside to grow into beautiful full Skimmia.

The nursery saves 90% on pesticides by preventing biological damage to the plants by aphids and spider mites; they do this by using predatory mites. These ribbons with mites are laid over the plants and then the mites themselves look for aphids and spider mites.

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