Potted spring bulbs are the Garden Plants of the Month for February

Winter may have its charms, but a hint of spring is more than welcome by now. And the Garden Plants of the Month for February can provide it. These potted spring bulbs offer an eruption of colour, fragrance and energy. So get to know hyacinths, daffodils and grape hyacinths.

Hyacinth
Pot Hyacinths offer endless possibilities for quickly bringing colour to your early spring garden. The grower has got the plant completely ready to shine in your garden – it’s just a matter of planting it in the soil or placing the flowers in bowls and containers. Before you know it, your view will then be coloured white, blue, yellow, pink, orange, red or purple, accompanied by long narrow green leaves. There are single and double flowered Hyacinths and there are multiflora varieties whereby several stems grow from a single bulb. Hyacinths grow to an average height of 25cm and flower in March and April.

Hyacint Mooiwatplantendoen

 

Eastern roots 
The Hyacinth is a bulb plant from the asparagus family which originates from the eastern Mediterranean region, from central Turkey to Lebanon. The plant has been around for a very long time, and was first written about 4000 years ago. Traders brought the Hyacinth to Europe in the 16th century and there are now more than 2000 varieties. The biggest difference from the wild Hyacinth is that the cultivated version has up to 60+ more flowers per stem. Hyacinths can cope with the cold so a night frost won’t harm them.

Daffodil
Bright yellow, cloud white and everything in between. And the daffodil also comes equipped with a trumpet to welcome spring with a fanfare.

Daffodil Thejoyofplants.co.uk

Nothing shouts ‘Spring!’ like the daffodil (officially called Narcissus). The bulbs with their green shoots produce smooth stems with small pale brown buds that open out into fabulous trumpet-shaped flowers. The daffodil creates atmosphere instantly and blooms fairly quickly in the sun, but can also tolerate a cold night. As a potted bulb it’s an ideal garden bloomer for quickly and effectively brightening your garden table or borders when it’s still cold and wintry outdoors. Combined with other bulbs like grape hyacinths, crocuses and hyacinths it also makes an amazing group act planted together in the soil or in containers.

Arrived from the South

Double flowers, plain or spotted, large yellow trumpets, dwarves, specimens with sprays of flowers: there are some 88 different types of daffodil in twelve categories. They’re all descended from the wild daffodil which has been growing in the Northern hemisphere since time immemorial. The species that we know here mainly spread from Spain and Portugal to northern Europe. A few species also have a delectable fragrance. Daffodils have been flowering in the Netherlands for a very long time: as far as we know, there were first recorded in 1662 near Zwolle.

Grape hyacinth
Beautiful and easy: you can start the outdoor season on your garden table and windowsill with grape hyacinths. Buy the bulbs pre-cultivated in pots to be sure that they will open.

Grape hyacinth Muscari Thejoyofplants.co.uk

Grape hyacinth (Muscari) is one of the first plants to show colour when everything else still looks bare and is hibernating. First you see only green shoots, but soon a splash of blue, white or pink emerges. That grows into a small spike made up of tiny balls. From a distance it looks just like a bunch of grapes – hence the name. Depending on the variety, the flowers can be powder blue, azure, royal blue or indigo, and there are also white and pink grape hyacinths. Potted grape hyacinths have been optimally prepared by the grower to brighten your garden or patio straightaway, and flower in February and March through part of April. They can be transferred from the pot to beds, but also do well on the garden table. Since they reach a height of 10-25 cm, the effect is best in a low, wide container or bowl.

Eurasian spring bloomer 

Grape hyacinth is native to the whole of Europe, Russia and northern Asia, and spreads readily. Once the bulbs are in the soil, more will grow. In the wild the plant particularly occurs in verges and woody areas. The grape hyacinth has part of our surroundings for a long time – the plant is first referred to in botanical documents dating from 1601. What’s unusual is that plant experts cannot agree which family it belongs to. Purists believe that it’s a member of the Asparagus family, which includes both the vegetable and herbs and (climbing) plants. However, a more modern classification assigns the grape hyacinth to the hyacinths. There are 42 recognised species, of which the blue is the best-known.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.ukFacebook: thejoyofplantsTwitter: @thejoyofplants

Specialty Palms: houseplants of the month for February

Create a fabulous ‘jungalow’ feel with specialty  palms and bring the summer a step closer during the darkest days of the year: paradise found!

Dreaming of far-off places
For starters, they have green umbels, fan-like leaves and elegant trunks. They also have amazing names like Cycas (Fern palm) , Livistona, Caryota (Fishtail palm)  and Rhapis (Lady palm). With just a little imagination you can picture yourself in Africa or Asia just sitting in your living room. And if you build up a good bond, they will be friends for life, since these palms have real staying power with the pure paradise factor.

Nature on a pedestal
Specialty palms fit perfectly into the interiors trend in which living indoor greenery is becoming ever more important as an oasis into which you can retreat when the outside world gets a bit too clamorous. The best way to highlight that harmonious feel is to literally put the plants on a pedestal or to combine them with symbolic elements from nature. This might include pots with wood carvings or pots decorated with semi-precious stones.

Unusual properties
Specialty palms are not just a green jewel in your home – they also offering some extras. Cycas is an excellent plant for the novice palm lover. Livistona filters quite a few harmful substances out of the air so that your home enjoys better air quality. And they all have a positive effect on the humidity.

Caring for specialty palms

  • Cycas is happy anywhere, Livistona likes to be out of the sun and Caryota and Rhapis actually prefer a shady spot.
  • None of the specialty palms like to be too dry, but nor do they like to have wet feet: slightly damp soil is ideal.
  • Specialty palms like to be freestanding. If the tips of the leaves aren’t pressed against anything they will stay nice and green.

Family tree stretching back to prehistory
Specialty palms are members of a family which includes nearly 4000 species. These are plants that have been growing on Earth for a very long time – the oldest remains found are some 40 million years old. Most originate from the tropics and subtropics. They have a typical southern look with a fabulous green palette which creates real peace indoors. They’re also big personalities: just one specialty palm can bring loads of southern atmosphere into your home.

Specialty palms trivia

  • Cycas is one of the oldest palm species in the world.
  • The palm branch is a symbol of Nike, goddess of victory.
  • Specialty palms can also shine on your patio or balcony in the summer.
  • Rhapis is a particularly unusual palm because this palm has bushy stems rather than a trunk.
  • Palms have played an important role in various cultures for centuries. They are mentioned more than thirty times in the Bible, and at least 22 times in the Koran.

Houseplant of the month
Specialty palms are the Houseplants for February 2017. The ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk

Facebook: thejoyofplants

Twitter: @thejoyofplants

 

 

Winter heather is the garden plant of the month

Let your winter garden shine with this resilient plant

When most plants are hibernating, you can always still rely on winter heather to bring some colour to your garden, even if it’s snowing.

Winter heather
Small flowers yet plenty of colour – that’s the secret of winter heather (officially called Erica carnea). This small evergreen shrub blooms with white, pink, red, purple and gold flowers. They’re quite small, but because there are so many of them, winter heather still brings plenty of life and colour to your garden. The plant is between 20 and 50 cm tall, and can be planted in beds, whereby they have more effect in groups than on their own. Winter heather also works well in containers, (hanging) baskets and pots. The flowers bloom until April. If you still want heather in your garden after that, you can use summer heather (Calluna).

Survivor
Winter heather is a member of the heather family (Ericaceae) and particularly occurs in the cooler parts of Western Europe. There are some 860 species, and it’s a survivor that can even thrive on the coast. The plant provides food for chickens, goats, sheep and other livestock. Sheep in particular love it: they nibble off the shoots and so keep fields of heather in top condition as living lawnmowers.

Trivia
The Latin name Erica means ‘brush’; in the past heather branches that had finished flowering were tied together to use for sweeping.

Heather symbolises independence, because the plant can survive under difficult conditions. In Celtic cultures it also represents being lucky or wishing someone luck.

In the Middle Ages heather was used as a fuel, mattress filling and for making dye. Nowadays, heather honey is a particularly well-known heather product.

Care

– Winter heather can be placed in the sun and in partial shade.

– The plant likes slightly acidic loose soil.

– Better to give a big splash of water from time to time when it’s not freezing than small amounts regularly.

– Cut back about 1/3 in order to keep winter heather nice and green.

Ficus benjamina is the Houseplant for January

Green tree of dreams with a rich history

Ficus benjamina has been getting along with humans very well for centuries. As a houseplant it’s a loyal companion that will grow alongside you for years.
Ficus benjamina - Thejoyofplants.co.uk

Colours and shapes

Lavishly endowed with leaves, available in sizes from a mini shrub to an indoor tree, and also easy to look after – it’s no wonder that Ficus benjamina is one of the most popular houseplants. Depending on the species, the shiny oval leaves can be plain green, or marked with burgundy, creamy yellow, silver-white, green, yellow or pink patterns. The plant is available as a natural-looking bush, but is also grown on trunks which can be straight, interwoven or twisted. In most cases the branches droop slightly, giving it an elegant green appearance.

Origin

Ficus benjamina grows along a wide band extending from Portugal to Afghanistan, as well as in South-West Asia, Africa, South America and Australia. In the wild the plant can reach a height of 30 m. The largest plant is in India, with a crown diameter of 131 m and more than 1775 aerial roots. It doesn’t achieve that scale as a houseplant, but it can certainly be quite a personality in your home. The plant is a member of the Mulberry family, and has been growing on Earth for a very long time: fossil remains have been found dating back 30 million years.

Symbolism

Ficus benjamina is also known as the weeping fig. The figs that grow on it in the wild means that Ficus is seen as the tree of peace and abundance and the Middle East. The seeds in the fruit represent unity and universal understanding and knowledge. Large wild figs are holy in East Asia: the Buddha gained enlightenment under such tree. And in Indonesia weeping figs are seen as the link between the human and spirit worlds.

Spruce is the garden plant of December

We know it from the many songs about Christmas trees, but it’s still the fir tree that lends personality to the garden and grows into your very own jolly green giant.

Evergreen and a minimal shedder – what more do you want? Spruce (Picea omorika, Picea glauca conica) is officially a hardy conifer, but looks like a proper pine tree, often complete with pine cones beneath the branches. In the wild it comes in a range of sizes from 50cm to 50m. The decorative value is determined by the arrangement of the branches covered in needles (actually leaves) and the shape of the tree. They can be a classic pine shape, with layered branches that sit in a ring around the trunk, or spherical and grown in a pyramid shape.

Spruce up your knowledge!
Spruce is a genus in the Pinaceae family of fir trees which contain some 45 species. The tree originates from northern Europe, although it can also be found up in high altitudes in large parts of Asia. You can tell a spruce from a pine by examining the needles: on a spruce they’re flat and attached to the twig individually, whilst on a pine tree they’re round and clustered together. Unlike firs (Abies), part of the bark comes away when a needle is pulled off a spruce (Picea). Spruces therefore always have a tag on the removed needle.

From indoors to outdoors
Once your Spruce has done its job as a Christmas tree and you want to give it a second chance outdoors, make sure it has a sizeable root ball when buying. Place it in a pot with water and shrub food over Christmas to ensure it suffers as little damage as possible from the dry atmosphere. To ensure that the transition is not too much of a shock, don’t place it outdoors until the frost has ended. Planted nice and deep and fed with some extra water and food, the Spruce will settle well.

Spruce trivia

•In Greek mythology Spruce is associated with Artemis, the goddess of the moon.
•German tribes stored the cones as a symbol of fertility.
•The wood of the Spruce has many uses for flooring, furniture, instruments, crates and gardenware.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Facebook: thejoyofplants
Twitter: @thejoyofplants

Thejoyofplants.co.uk
Thejoyofplants.co.uk is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland to let consumers experience that you feel better with plants around you.

Azalea is the Houseplant of the month

Azalea is the Houseplant of the month for December 2016

The surfeit of flowers means you can hardly see the green leaves: with an Azalea you really are ending the year with a bang!

Beautiful stimuli
The Azalea’s cheerful, flamboyant flowers are an excellent remedy against the dark days before Christmas. They bloom lavishly and elegantly on plants in the familiar bush form, but are also available as a mini, pyramid or standard. The flowers are white, pink, red or burgundy, but there are also Azaleas with bicoloured flowers. And the shape the flower can also vary, from small to large to double and single. That makes the Azalea the perfect houseplant for really shaking things up indoors. All those different shapes and colours fit with the current trend of ‘the more stimuli the better’ because you don’t want to miss a thing and a little more can’t do any harm.

Energy booster
Because the Azalea already has a very strong personality, it’s best to put it in a pot with real presence. Lacquered metal from bright through to pastel, pale wood and matt earthenware with relief are all a good match, and all ensure that the flowers can still play the starring role. Place different colours and types of Azalea together at different heights for an indoor energy boost. And combine the plant with geometric backgrounds for a mildly psychedelic effect which fits well with the endless torrent of stimuli which constantly envelop us nowadays.

Azalea & care
When making your purchase choose an Azalea whose flowers are already slightly open. Azaleas like to be at room temperature in indirect light to be able to bloom well. As far as care is concerned, you should immerse the soil once every four days, preferably in boiled, cooled water (the plant cannot cope well with hard water) until you can no longer see any bubbles. Then leave to drain well. No extra plant food is needed during the blooming period – a modern Azalea will provide flowers for at least six weeks. Remove wilted flowers and leave the plant in a cool spot to rest until the next flowering.

● The Azalea is part of the Rhododendron family; there are more than 150 species.
● The original versions have been around for 70 million years.
● The name is derived from the Greek word ‘azaleos’, which means ‘dry’ and probably refers to the plant’s woody branches.
● In China the Azalea is known as the ‘I am thinking of home bush’.
● The houseplant as we know it in the West was originally cultivated by Buddhist monks.
● The Azalea is the national flower of Nepal and is referred to there in ancient medical texts.
● The plant is and remains extremely popular in the Far East: major festivals are devoted to it in Japan, Korea and China.
● As far as we know the Azalea first appeared in the Netherlands in 1680, when the plant was imported on Dutch East India Company ships.
● Almost 85% of the Azaleas in Europe are grown in the Belgian province of East Flanders.
● In Japan giving someone an Azalea symbolises giving them luck.
● To make an original party decoration snip off some flowers with their stem and place them in a glass of water.
● The Azalea is a popular houseplant to try your bonsai techniques on. As a ‘basal-dominant’ plant it mainly sends its growth to the lower parts of the plant. By vigorously pruning there and leaving the top virtually untouched, you can produce an energetically flowering mini-tree in the Japanese style.
Houseplant of the month
The Azalea is the houseplant of the month for December 2016. ‘Houseplant of the month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council consults with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers, or is not (yet) well-known but has the potential to do well in the living room.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Facebook: thejoyofplants
Twitter: @thejoyofplants

Thejoyofplants.co.uk
Thejoyofplants.co.uk is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland to let consumers experience that you feel better with plants around you.

Van Den Berg Roses, Hoogeveen Plants and Herburg Roses winners of the Dutch Flower Awards 2016

Aalsmeer, Friday 4 November 2016

 

The winners of the Dutch Flower Awards 2016 were announced at the FloraHolland Trade Fair on Thursday 3 November. This year the central theme was “sustainability”.

Dutch Flower Awards 2016

Van Den Berg Roses, a rose grower from Poeldijk, was decorated as the most valuable supplier in the Cut Flowers category, because of their extensive environmental and social certifications and sustainable business operations. The winner in the Plants category, with branches in Hazerswoude, Boskoop and Bleiswijk, was Hoogeveen Plants. Hoogeveen grows climbing and fruit plants, bamboo and helleborus and is a front runner in sustainability policies, whereby proactive reduction of pesticides and bee-friendly cultivation play a major role. Herburg Roses (Ethiopia), a rose grower, was announced as the winner of the Foreign Supplier category. Herburg is “sustainable from the roots”, has all environmental and social certifications and is a very active Fairtrade partner who is committed to local training and awareness.

Preferred Partner Recognition
Chrysal International received a recognition for the intensive and future-oriented collaboration with Dutch Flower Group (DFG) companies with respect to sustainability. Chrysal’s Joep Wiegel and Rolf Timmerman were present to receive the Preferred Partner Recognition.
Most important themes for 2017
Marco van Zijverden, CEO of DFG, indicated in his speech that, due to market developments and challenges for the industry in the coming year, sustainability and innovation will be high on the strategic agenda. DFG will make specific investments in these areas in anticipation of further growth in DFG companies.

 

Marco thanked all employees for their efforts and passion which has, last week, again resulted in being at the top of the Hillenraad 100 for companies with a turnover of more than € 500 million.