"Despite the current prices and demand, due to the second wave, not being optimal, we will end the year on a positive note," Wouter van der Harg said during a visit to the 3.5 ha potrose nursery Leo van der Harg in Vierpolders, the Netherlands. The cultivation is fully focused on the Kordana pot roses of the German rose breeder Kordes Roses. During our visit, we received a tour in the greenhouse and were able to admire a mutant of one of the bestsellers; the champagne-colour, lightly scented Kordana Grande called Belami Kordana. The mutant is pink, also lightly scented, is called Adele Kordana and will be on the market in early 2021.
Wouter van der Harg with Adele Kordana® and Ad Volkering of Kordes Roses with Belami Kordana® .
In 1987, Wouter's father, Leo van der Harg, took over the cutrose nursery from his father at the age of 21 and switched to pot plants, five years later. In '92, he moved with his family to Vierpolders where he started growing Saint Paulia's. In '97, he came in touch with Kordes Roses and started growing Kordana pot roses in a part of his greenhouse. Within a year, the cultivation of the Kordana potroses went very well, therefore, they decided to focus fully on the cultivation of potroses. Over the years, after buying land, the company has grown into a company with a 3,5 ha greenhouse and with the possibility to grow another 1,5 ha. His sons Wouter and Pieter will take over the baton from their father next year. Wouter is already busy with sales and organization for a number of years and Pieter with the cultivation.
A peek into the greenhouse.
10.5 cm Kordana Classic and Grande
At Leo van der Harg B.V. the production is constant and year-round about 5 million 10.5 cm pot roses, in the Kordana® Classic and Kordana Grande series, leave the greenhouse. 85 Percent of the roses are sold directly to exporters, after which they reach consumers throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Russia via wholesalers and florists.
The Kordana Classic series has roses with a flower size diameter of 2-4 cm and the Kordana Grande of 4-6 cm. Both series have a shelf life of over 21 days and dark green leaves. Leo van der Harg B.V. currently grows 11 Kordana Classic varieties and 8 Kordana Grande varieties. The Kordana Classic assortment was and still is the largest and most demanded, but in recent years, the demand for the Kordana Grande assortment has increased. "This is probably due to the improvements that the breeder Kordes is making all the time. If an improved variety is introduced, we will replace the old ones with these new, improved varieties."
Adele Kordana® Grande
High expectations for mutant Grande Adele Kordana
In 2021 the Kordana Grande assortment will welcome a new variety at Leo van der Harg, namely Adele Kordana, and Wouter has great expectations for this new pink variety. "Adele Kordana is a mutant of Belami Kordana, a variety that - together with Firebird Kordana - belongs to one of our bestsellers all year round. Belami Kordana is a champagne-colour, lightly scented pot rose in the Kordana Grande assortment and in April 2020 my brother Pieter found a Belami Kordana with one pink flower. He started to propagate it and voila. At the moment we are propagating Adele Kordana and in 2021 this new variety will be available to our customers."
A combination of HPS and LED (from Signify) lighting.
Production - as much biological as possible
When growing the roses, the van der Harg family attaches great importance to a sustainable production. "On the plants we use a special device, a large tube with plastic, that regulates the growth of the plants, so we need to use less plant growth regulators. The plastic gently touches the plants which inhibits the growth and results in more branches on the plant. In addition, we have partially installed LED lighting and we have solar panels on the roof." Also for the cultivation they use biological products as much as possible. "For cutting our plants we use the second pruning - the production process may be longer, but we get fuller plants with more buds. The cutting waste from the first pruning is fed to the animals in the nearby zoo, this shows that we have a clean product."
Automatic propagation of the roses.
Kordes Roses - the story of the Kordana pot rose
All pot roses in the greenhouse are bred by the German rose breeder Kordes Roses, but how did the Kordana® pot rose story begin? The development of the Kordana began in the early eighties. In the beginning, miniature roses that originated from the garden roses were used as pot roses. However, it turned out to be unsuccessful, because they were not suitable for greenhouse production and moreover, the shelf life was not nearly long enough. The breeder then developed a special breeding program after which the successful Vanilla Kordana emerged. "It was a breakthrough in the pot rose sector and this variety was at the top for many years," says Ad Volkering. Many varieties followed from this variety and currently there are three different series, namely the Kordana Classic, Kordana Grande and finally the RosAroma. This last series of fragrant pot roses was introduced five years ago by the Danish grower and partner of Kordes Rosa Danica. Today this Danish grower grows 11 million Kordes pot roses and also tests new varieties. In 2017 the Dutch grower Pligt Professionals started with Kordana Grande in 12cm pot size.
Besides single potroses, Leo van der Harg also produces bowls and these combinations in the picture, with four different varieties in a 10.5 cm pot named Quattrose.
Looking back and ahead
2020 is almost over, but it's not too early to look back. Wouter: "As for many, it was a hectic year for us. In March and April, our months with the biggest peak in turnover, we had to throw away 400.000 plants or sell them at lower prices. Fortunately, the summer was a lot better than usual, so we almost closed the gap. Unfortunately, demand went down again in November when the second wave arrived, but in general, this month is always a difficult one. All in all, if we now look back on the corona year, we will end it positively".
Wouter also has good expectations for the coming year and years. "It will be an exciting but good year, my brother and I will take over the company and we will put Adele Kordana on the market commercially for the first time.
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Leo van der Harg
Wouter van der Harg