In the Netherlands it’s becoming colder, leaves start to fall, flowers are changing colors and everything is getting cozy. Especially Hydrangeas start to change, as you may know, Hydrangeas in fall are unique in color. I hear you thinking… Isn’t every flower unique? Yes, of course, but Hydrangeas literally change colors on it’s own. A green variety can be green/red the next week. How cool is that? On this fall trip, we wanted to show our florists the magic of walking in such a greenhouse, filled with the most beautiful varieties and colors. Even better, have lunch in between them. Want to know more about our amazing adventures? Read along and maybe we will write about our trip with you in our next blog!
In the intro we talk about the Hydrangea part of the journey, but we did so much more! We went to the Tulperij to pick Sunflowers and Dahlias, went to VIP Roses, had a boat tour through the cozy city of Leiden, we showed the place all the magic happens: our HQ, went to have lunch in the greenhouse of Ko Kolk, and most important of all – we had the BEST time together with our florists.
Picking Dahlias from the field
On the first day we went straight to the Tulperij. This was for sure an experience we’ll never forget, we got the opportunity to step in the shoes of a grower! The sun was shining, the brightest colors popped out and we had baskets full of Dahlias. It was almost like a dream… We also got some information about the different varieties of Dahlia, the grower showed us the biggest and most colorful until the smaller ones, but they were all so beautiful. He also showed us how Dahlias and Sunflowers grow, which was very interesting to learn.
VIP Roses – the name says it all
After our fun experience at the Tulperij, we went to VIP Roses. I think I don’t even have to explain what this grower does, everyone knows VIP Roses right? We got to see so many amazing varieties, from the most popular ones like ‘Westminster Abbey’ or ‘Teddy’ to the new and not-even-on-the-market ones. Our florists were so enthusiastic about this grower, and to finally see them grown in real life was such a highlight of the trip for them.
Boat tour through the cozy city of Leiden
After a long day of being busy, learning about flowers and how to grow them, we went to the city of Leiden and hopped on a boat. Leiden is the perfect place to wander along endless canals, escape the crowds of Amsterdam and to enjoy the beautiful architecture. Leiden is most famous for having one of the best-preserved historic centers in the Netherlands. The Dutch city also happens to be the birthplace of iconic painter Rembrandt van Rijn and where the ‘star’ of the Heineken logo originally came from. Enough about Leiden, overall, we had a lovely time on the boat. After the boat tour, we had dinner at De Waag and went to bed, because another busy day was ahead of us!
The flower factory at Hoek flowers
Day two… Let me tell you a bit about our HQ, because behind all the flowers you received, has happened a LOT. While enjoying breakfast and a cup of coffee, Lianne explained some things about our company and the web shop, what we do for sustainability, and about how this all came to life. After that we did a tour through the building, starting at the buyers area. Here we explained about how our buyers work, what they do and how they try to maintain the relationships with our esteemed growers. After that we went to the cold area, from the start until the end. From the robots, where they pick 4.000 flowers daily, until the packing area, where they pack orders for the UK until Hong Kong. We let our florist follow some packing lessons from Rein – one of our packers.
When we finished our tour at the HQ of Hoek flowers, we went straight to Ko Kolk, where we saw the prettiest Hydrangeas and had a lovely lunch between the Hydrangea fields. They told us a lot about Hydrangeas and showed us the process.
Unfortunately, after visiting Ko Kolk and enjoying a lovely lunch between the Hydrangeas, this day had come to an end. We drove our florists to Schiphol and said our goodbyes. Our florists told us how much they enjoyed this trip, and how much more they value the flowers. In the beginning of the trip, most of us were strangers to each other, but at the end of the trip, it seemed like we all had known each other for ages. It is true what they say…
“Flowers do connect people.“
Caroline, one of our Irish Account Managers who joined us on the trip, said: there’s something very inspiring and almost magical when you watch your clients enter through the doors of a grower. It makes them almost speechless. Their eyes widen at the sight of the acres of beautiful flowers in front of them. I’ll never forget sitting in a hydrangea glasshouse and having afternoon tea surrounded by friends, clients, and colleagues all bonding over their mutual love of flowers.