Santini grower De Landscheiding is paired up with Florismart florist Tracey Griffin. During her visit, she wrote down pages of information about this Dutch grower. Scroll down, watch the video and learn more about what makes De Landscheiding unique.
Written by Tracey Griffin
I was paired up with De Landscheiding, a Santini grower that is truly passionate about these little beauties.
From the very beginning of my tour three things struck me:
- Firstly, I wasn’t at just any Santini grower, but at the true Santini experts.
- Secondly, it was far more than just growing flowers, there’s an ingrained passion to grow the very best Santini.
- Thirdly, high customer service and experience is behind everything they do.
Wilco Hofman is the owner, grower and Santini master! Wilco and his dedicated team have been growing Santini for over 30 years. He started growing chrysanthemums from age 19 but soon developed a passion for Santini’s. De Landscheiding have been in their current location in Bleiswijk in Holland since 1989. Where they have expanded and have a total of 4.5 hectares across two locations.
De Landscheiding stands apart from other Santini growers. With over 30 varieties being grown and most available throughout the year. Offering a far greater range than most other Santini growers comes as a direct result of listening to florists.
At the very other end of the production chain, Wilco works very closely with Santini breeders. One of them is keen to use his glasshouse and expertise to trial new varieties. Together they select the future Santini stars. De Landscheiding retains the sole rights to many and 90% of all Santini’s grown by them are from these trial breeding varieties.
Calimero is a variety that is only grown at De Landscheiding. It’s well worth noting that its strong elegant stems house petite Santini heads, so it stands to reason that it is a lighter grade Santini. Bundles of Calimero never exceed 950 grams, that’s the nature of this beautiful variety which offers a choice of nine colours. Make a note on your comprehensive grade sheet, because you don’t want to miss out on buying this variety because you think it’s too small. Currently, It’s only available from April to October.
The new kid on the block is ‘Ellison’, its head is the complete opposite to Calimero – it’s huge (as Santini’s go). These beautiful pompom heads are available in six colours. The Single ‘Rossi’ with eight colours and a selection of ‘other’ varieties complete the range. Most of these Santini are available on the pre-order section of the Florismart website.
Wilco tentatively explained that each variety has its own needs, its own personality, like a lady! Some varieties take 9.5 weeks from planting to picking whilst others need 11 weeks.
To my surprise, the cuttings arrive in Holland from Africa in bags without roots. The process of growing roots takes place over 12-14 days with four hours of darkness and 20 hours of light. They then have 11 hours of growing light with 13 hours of darkness to rest thereafter. The nursery is fitted with blackout blinds and the perfect growing lights to give the exact light levels required.
Whilst the nursery was vast it didn’t have an industrial feel to it. This is probably because all the picking is done by hand. A part of the 18 staff members have been with the company for over 15 years. They can see and or feel when the stems are ready for picking. Many nurseries use harvesting machines to cut every stem of an area and bring on smaller, immature stems in water; this practice inevitably decreases the vase life. As I previously mentioned quality rules for the Landscheiding guys and girls are very important. They don’t clear every stem from an area, they only pick perfect stems. Preferring to pick from the same area a second time, rather than compromise their quality and standards. This guarantees all stems are the same size, which is better for us florists. Their entire growing process is slower than others, this also benefits us, as the vase life is increased as a result.
Picking and packing
It was fascinating to watch the picking and packing process. The picking conveyor belt is moved into position and then five stems are plucked from the ground, with their heads in perfect alignment. They’re placed onto the conveyor belt which feeds them through the machine. The roots are then chopped off, and the bunch has a cotton band stitched across the stem ends. As the Santini exits the machine the final quality check takes place. The bunch is then dropped into the sleeves and placed into their buckets. The whole process from growing in the soil to drinking up the water with a post-harvest solution took no longer than 2 minutes. As soon as possible the cut Santini are removed from the glasshouse into a cooler area.
All this care and attention can add a few pennies to the De Landscheiding Santini stem price, but you can be sure that it’s money well spent. They recently chatted to a florist who explained: “I would rather pay an extra 3 cents per stem and have no wastage, as it works out cheaper!”
De Landscheiding grows 20 million stems per year. Offering excellent customer service to their clients, whether exporters or florists, is the most important thing to them. Making sure they can supply all Santini varieties throughout the whole season. They don’t plant more to cash in at peak periods as this would result in a shortage in the following weeks when their clients still require their products!
I visited mid-July at a quieter time. This allows the nursery to do some annual housekeeping. The unplanted beds have their annual steaming, this sterilizes the ground in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Throughout the year biological control is favoured to keep pests at bay. All biodegradable waste is collected for recycling too. The company constantly reviews their practices and strives to become as environmentally aware and sustainable as possible.
The best of the best
De Landscheiding is a member of Premium Flowers, a group of leading Dutch floriculturists that supply exceptional quality flowers.
75% – 80% of the Santini’s grown stay in Europe, in the UK we don’t buy anywhere near as many as Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia and our other European colleagues. They used to favour spray Chrysanthemum – just as we currently do – but now, many forward-thinking European florists buy 90% Santini vs just 10% spray Chrysanthemums.
These stats prove what I’ve often thought. Santini’s often get overlooked by many British florists, whilst spray Chrysant can be a staple flower in many businesses the daintier Santini doesn’t always get a look in! With the wonderful range of colours, heads shapes and sizes on offer, Santini can add a different dimension to all designs, but perfectly complement other flowers within a mixed hand-tie without dominating.
I look forward to creating some designs that challenge the perceptions of this little beauty and urge you to consider your opinion of Santini’s. Is it time that you could add them to your regular buying list?