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14 September 2012


Every ten years The Netherlands host a wonderful garden show on a huge scale and in 2012 the Floriade exhibition was held in Venlo. This city is in the south eastern side of the country, close to the German border and anyone in the horticulture world will recognise the name as that given to a particular style of greenhouse originally developed here.

Mark and I travelled to Venlo for a flying visit to the show, our plan was to catch up with trends and fashions in the plant world and with exhibitors from every continent, the World was well and truly represented. The emphasis of the show was on sustainable growing of food and plants for industry and leisure. We walked for miles around the various gardens finding a very well produced exhibit on bee keeping with plenty of ideas for insect friendly planting that we are hoping to add to the planted areas around the nursery here. In fact all the major garden exhibits were promoting the planting of nectar and pollen rich plants for the dwindling bees and pollinating insects.

Photo of nectar rich flowers
Nectar rich planting

The Dutch food producers put on a very interesting exhibit showing that not all glasshouse produced tomatoes and peppers are tasteless! One particularly interesting high tech, eco friendly glass house showed sustainably grown herbs and salads being grown in what appeared to be the dark. In actual fact the plants were flourishing under low voltage LED lights just using the light spectrum that the foliage want but we can not see. Plenty of samples to try and a good spot to spend a little time.

Unlike our trip in 2002, we were able to spend the whole day at the show and managed to see almost 100% of the day-time exhibitions. The large pavilion was given over to interior plants and once again was breathtaking, with Orchids of every colour and living walls very prominent. We were very pleased to see an exhibit on why we should all have plenty of plants in our work places!

Photo of large mud sculpture Trolls...
Large mud sculptures

For me though the best part of the whole show was the children's area with mud sculptures and a fire breathing dragon (Patsy did spend a lot of time in this area, running away from the Dragon along with the small children every time it roared...  Mark)

Mark booked us into a small hotel he has used before on one of his motorcycle trips across Europe. Not the biggest hotel but very friendly and only a few minutes walk from the shuttle bus to the show and the many bars and restaurants in town. We were also lucky with our timing as there was a free world music festival going on just ten minutes walk away. The local beer and food, good blues music from the deep south of America and Afro-French acid jazz along with local Dutch bands meant our evening was well catered for as well...

The next Floriade is in 2022 and if you have never been before take a couple of days to go and explore, you will not be disappointed.

Here are a couple of short films to show just how big and colourful Floriade is...

A video of Floriade 2012.

Floriade 2012 in pictures.

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