One day Theo Kuijpers, a GP and plant lover, discovered a new seedling. Its beauty struck him so much; he named it after his granddaughter, Eveline. The Lagerstroemeria Eveline is now part of the 'Princess of Theo' series. Belgian grower Geert Devriese cultivates it.
The Lagerstroemeria Eveline has, since its market introduction, won the gold Florall award and silver KVBC award. It's already found its way to many gardens too. Also, ten percent of sales are donated to the KiKa (Cancer Free Children) Foundation. But who was Theo, and why KiKa?
Geert and Ingrid Devriese-Luyssen receive the silver KVBC award.
A true pioneer
“Theo was a wonderful person," begins Geert. "We were both true plant lovers. We love nature and are passionate about it. At lunch one day, Theo suddenly asked me to grab my pruning shears. We were going to do some cuttings in the garden. I realized then he was ready to share his legacy, the Lagerstroemia, with the world. It was the last plant species he hadn't yet shared. And I, a passionate grower from Flanders, now got to share his plant babies with everyone."
Geert describes Theo as a true pioneer. That was in terms of research and the quest for exotics. "He was sure almost all plants can flourish in the Netherlands and Belgium too. That's provided the conditions are right. Most within the profession thought plants like Lagerstroemia could never grow in our climate. Not Theo. He was the first to select it for Dutch and Belgian conditions. These plants were initially just for his own garden. Now, we can share these amazing species with every garden lover."
The 'Princess of Theo' brand logo. It's not a photo of Theo. According to his children, there are almost none. 'He never wanted to be in the photos. For him, it was all about the plants.'
In December 2019, Theo's heart stopped unexpectedly. He may have left this world, but not without leaving a piece of himself behind. "I was given the honor of growing and protecting one of Theo's last breeds - Lagerstroemia Eveline," Devriese explains. "We also grow limited editions of the rest of the 'Princess of Theo' series."
"They are named after his granddaughters Veerle and Caroline. After Theo's death, we decided to donate ten percent of all sales proceeds to KiKa. That was at the request of Theo's widow. It's something he, a general practitioner by profession, would certainly have appreciated," Geert concludes.
The great backstory isn't the only reason for Lagerstroemia Eveline's popularity. It's not without reason that it's received several awards. Eveline grows easily and compactly. So it brings innovation to the range. It's suitable for both gardens and patios. People can use it in various ways. And it meets every kind of consumer's needs.
Click here for more information about the Lagerstroemeria Eveline.