Meet the grower

"A plant always brings a little bit of joy"

Lendert: ‘We part-grow hydrangeas here, just like our colleagues at Hortensia France. We started specialising in hydrangeas, both potted hydrangeas and cut flower hydrangeas, in around 2009/2010.’ His sister Wendy adds: ‘Right from day one that Magical Hydrangea existed, we have been growing Magicals. It started back then in green pots with gold letters. That was trendy at the time.’

Magical Revolutions for the whole of Europe

Several years and a lot of hydrangeas later… Lendert: ‘We grow the Magical Revolution, for garden and indoors, as base material. We supply the ‘18 month plants’ to Magical growers throughout Europe. These have had 18 months to develop. They have more buds, more branches and more flowers than plants that have only been prepared for a year. It then takes another three months to bring the plants into bloom. We also provide growers with cuttings.’

First generation growers

A lot of Magical growers learnt the craft at their parents’ knee. But not Lendert and Wendy. Lendert: ‘I went to agriculture college in Boskoop. That led to holiday jobs at nurseries, and gradually I thought: “This is what I want to do”.’ His sister adds: ‘I don’t really know how it started with me. I think it came from passion, from the feeling that “This is fun”. It’s not like we had an allotment as children or anything like that. I studied Cultural and Social Education, although I did always have part-time jobs in horticulture.’ Lendert: ‘At one point were working for a grower who did not have a parent as a role model either. That made us think: “It can be done”. We have done this all ourselves.”

Race with the climate

Wendy: ‘The best thing about our job is the challenge of the season, that starts early and passes quickly. That makes producing a good product a real art. The climate is always an unexpected factor - it really is a race. Ideally we release our plants in January. In fact, December is even better, but we don’t always manage that. Sometimes it ends up being June!’

Collaboration and improvement

Luckily the brother and sister do not need to run the race with the elements on their own: ‘We have some 20 people working here, and the nursery covers 7.5 hectares. Three hectares are glass, the rest is open field. Every day we look for improvement, we seek out people who can help us progress. It’s great to be in a collaboration like Magical; there is a lot of knowledge-sharing. The collaboration is great. As a grower you are just one small link, but together you are a very strong collective.’

Favourite: Magical Jewel

Asked about their own favourite hydrangea, brother and sister agree: The Magical Jewel in blue! Lendert: ‘We think it’s also important to note that Magicals consume less water than other hydrangeas. You don’t see many plants as strong as Magicals. Our tip: treat the plant like patio plant. Because if you place the plant in a pot and water it yourself, you always know how much water the plant is actually getting.’

Work as a hobby

Is there time for hobbies alongside all the nursery work? Brother and sister laugh. Wendy: ‘Gardening! No, but seriously: what with running the business and having a family at home, our weeks are pretty full. We enjoy the work so much, that our work has also become something of a hobby.’