How it all started
It all began with the Agapanthus variety named ‘DR Brouwer’. While the cultivation was modest in its beginnings, Tim and Mark steadily expanded the business. For around 6 years, they have been actively engaged in cultivating Agapanthuses, and for the past 3 years, they’ve also ventured into growing Alliums, particularly Gladioters. This strategic move allows them to extend the flower season and offer beautiful blooms in the spring as well. Their range of Agapanthuses has grown significantly. The popular ‘DR Brouwer’ still leads the list with around 400,000 stems, followed by ‘Suzanne’ with 100,000 stems. Last year, they added ‘Barcelona’ to their collection. The brothers are in constant pursuit of new and intriguing varieties to enrich their assortment.
An Ambitious Goal: Extending the Season
The Agapanthus cultivation season typically runs from mid-June to early August, during which approximately half a million stems are harvested. However, Tim and Mark aspire to expand further. This year, they’ve decided to cultivate early varieties of Alliums in greenhouses during April and May. Tim and Mark’s aim is to work swiftly and efficiently, all while ensuring excellent quality for flowers cultivated in the most sustainable manner possible. Their company proudly holds the prestigious Global GAP certificate, attesting to their compliance with high standards of sustainability and quality. They also possess the IDA certificate.
The Cultivation Process
What does the cultivation of Agapanthuses look like today? As temperatures start to drop in the autumn, straw is placed around the crops to shield them from cold and frost. This straw remains until March, providing protection for the plants throughout the winter period. Once the straw is removed, the crops start to grow. A bit of fertilizer is also applied to stimulate growth.
Weeding is carried out using both traditional and mechanical methods. A specialized machine scratches the beds, preventing young weeds from taking root. This process is repeated until the flowers begin to grow. When the blooms are fully grown, they are meticulously hand-cut and bundled. A final quality check ensures that only the finest blooms are selected before they are cooled for transport.
In the autumn, a portion of the old plants is lifted from the ground. Third-year plants are sold or used to initiate a new batch of Agapanthuses. In August, new plants are mechanically planted, and they are mown in the fall and winter, starting the process anew with the placement of straw.
Tim and Mark van Diepen are true pioneers in flower cultivation. Their dedication to sustainability and high quality, coupled with their relentless quest for new varieties, undeniably positions them as a successful force within the flower industry.