Meet the grower
Meet our grower Freese
Third generation growers
The nursery has been in existence since the 1950s, and the third generation is now in charge. This is a sizeable business employing 50 people in the high season. They work on ten hectares of open fields for the shrub cultivation, and in the 3.5 hectares of greenhouses where they grow hydrangeas and other seasonal pot plants. The nursery supplies wholesalers, who in turn provide plants to garden centres and DIY stores throughout Germany.
The many benefits of Magical Hydrangeas
Freese expanded its range of hydrangeas in 2013 with what was then the brand-new Magical Hydrangea. ‘The Magicals simply offer massive benefits,’ says Frauke Reents, manager at Freese. ‘They’re very strong hydrangeas that continue to flower for 150 days, and change colour several times within that period. Customers greatly appreciate that, because it is something very unusual within the traditional range of Hydrangea macrophylla - the botanical name for the mophead hydrangea.’
Chameleon amongst the hydrangeas
Magicals are available from March as a houseplant, then for use on the balcony, and for use in the garden from mid-May. ‘It looks good on a table in a small pot, in a larger pot it’s an ideal gift for Easter or Mother’s Day, and later on in a big container it’s definitely an feature outdoors as well,’ says Sara Siefkes, customer contact manager. ‘This chameleon amongst the hydrangeas is not that easy to grow, but if you do it well you get distinctive, attractive plants. Plants where the added value is immediately visible and which are inherently strong.’
Growing with consideration for the environment and quality
The Magical Hydrangeas that will be going on sale in Germany in the spring are still in the cold store at Freese in January. The nursery pays a lot of attention to biological plant protection in order to be able to work in an environmentally-friendly way which is as sustainable as possible. For example, colour charts are used to indicate which useful organisms should be used to prevent pests. All the crops in the open field and under glass are also part of a closed system. That means that no water is wasted, and that surplus water is collected and reused. The climate and lighting in the greenhouses are controlled automatically.
Easter and Mother’s Day are the most important
‘We can influence the growth cycle a little bit by controlling the light and the temperature, so that we can deliver the hydrangeas at exactly the right time,’ says manager Reents. The most important weeks for the company are those leading up to Easter and Mother’s Day. ‘Customers particularly appreciate the Magical because of the promise of 150 days of flowering and the spectacular colour change. People are happy to pay a bit more for that. The flowering also makes the Magical a much appreciated gift,’ says Siefkes.
Strong together with 23 growers
There are four Magical Hydrangea growers in Germany, distributed across the country. The international contact with colleagues - from Scandinavia to France and the Netherlands - is good. Once a year the 23 growers meet up, always in a different country, in order to share experiences. Those meetings are also part of the joint brand strategy. Nevertheless, every grower has their own expertise and there are obviously also differences between the various regions in terms of geography and climate. This leads to knowledge sharing and the ongoing development of the Magicals. A magical process!