Next May, the last plants of Van Geel Orchids from Erica, Drenthe, will leave the garden. He is the umpteenth in a string of orchid growers' names - a string that is floating around and getting longer and longer, but one of the first to appear by name in the newspaper - to officially announce his retirement.

"Reason is the price of gas, it's not roundabout. Moreover, those prices are far too volatile," director Martijn van Geel explained to RTV Drenthe , "you can't do business with that, if you use a few million cubic meters of gas a year."

Right now, an unprecedented market contraction is taking place. According to the grower, over 50 million orchids have been taken off the market in the past six weeks in the Netherlands, "or 20 times our business" (Van Geel grows 2.8 million plants annually).

Moving forward with chrysanthemums
Like Plantise, the entrepreneur chooses to take his fate into his own hands. "We can still decide for ourselves now," he says. Thus, with this decision he secures the continuation of his chrysanthemum nursery, at least for the coming period. Gas that he had already purchased for the orchids will now be released for the chrysanthemums, moreover, he will keep a part that he can sell more expensively. However, he will have to say goodbye to 50 employees.

In 2018, Van Geel opened another new 1-hectare greenhouse, which was equipped with additional cooling. The old greenhouse was also renovated and equipped with a new cultivation floor, screens and 2,300 solar panels. Looking to the future, this could be a stroke of luck: "We will be looking for new ideas, crops and products. We can grow anything: flowers, vegetables and fruits."