WHO THEY ARE
It’s no surprise that the Netherlands is home to some of the world’s finest flower nurseries – its flat landscapes, system of polders for irrigation and temperate climate make it ideal for growing a wide range of blooms. Flower nursery Van der Wekken is a 25-year-old family company set up by Herman van der Wekken and now run by his son Hans and grandson Herman.
WHAT THEY DO
In winter, the 30-hectare nursery focuses on tulips and in the summer turns it attention to a range of summer flowers, including gorgeous sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), available at Spinneys.
Although Van der Wekken recently built a new greenhouse with 6,500 m2 of its production under glass, the sunflowers are actually grown outside in the fields. Not only does this keep the flowers healthy, exposing them to sunshine, wind and rain, but it also protects the soil as it is not depleted of nutrients (bare earth loses much of its value because of rain).
In recognition of its sustainable practices, the nursery has earned MPS-GAP certification. As well as growing as many crops outside as possible, they use only natural methods of pests control at their farm as well as introducing environmentally friendly irrigation systems and recycling the water used in their greenhouses.
TRY THE PRODUCTS
The sunflowers from Van der Wekken are of the highest quality and will add a touch of sunshine and cheer to any room. As with any flowers, remove the ends from the stems, change the water every two days and keep them away from direct sunlight.