Japan: Shimane farmers have sleeper hit with ‘phantom’-type hydrangeas

Five new hydrangea species developed here are so sought after in the Tokyo metropolitan area that flower fans there call them "phantoms" since they sell out so fast you'll be lucky to get one before they disappear.

Behind their popularity lies the inconspicuous efforts of local farmers to compete with producers in other regions across Japan, as Shimane Prefecture is home to fewer hydrangea cultivators.

At a greenhouse in Izumo one late April day, Toshio Takuwa, 62, who is head of the Shimane Hydrangea Club, comprised of hydrangea farmers in Shimane Prefecture, was gearing up for the delivery of potted red and blue flowers.

“I'm too busy to have holidays from mid-April through Mother’s Day,” said Takuwa, who is churning out 12,000 potted flowers a year.

Click here to read the complete article at www.asahi.com

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