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26 September 2002

The Flying Dutch Trip

Ravenea. During the early part of September 2002 Pat and Mark took up a long-standing invitation to visit one of our regular plant suppliers whose nursery is in the Alsmeer area of The Netherlands. We thought it would be a good idea to link this visit to a flying trip to the Floriade show currently being held in the same area.

Floriade is a once every ten years exhibition showcasing the very best of all Dutch growing, starting with a spectacular Spring bulb show in March, through to the grande finale in October. During the six month open period the show also hosts numerous "internal" exhibitions and we wanted to see the "Art of Interior Landscaping and Hydroculture" showcase. This element of the show was open for two weeks from the last week of August.

As most of you know life at Decorfolia is very hectic, and it seemed that the only way we could do either of these projects was to fit them both into one day and "go for it"! So we booked ourselves onto the overnight ferry on Sunday night, arriving at the Hook of Holland early on Monday morning. After some dubious navigation by Pat, and an unplanned trip into Rotterdam, we arrived in Alsmeer, the plant and flower capital of Europe.

We were made most welcome by our Dutch hosts, who gave us a tour of their beautiful purpose built nursery, just two years old and full of unusual and interesting hydroculture plants. I took lots of pictures and some of them are here for you to see -

Euphorbia.
From the nursery we drove the 20 minutes to Floriade, where we found excellent parking facilities and a most interesting exhibition of all aspects of the plant world. Of course we spent most of our time in the huge exhibition hall, where the shading on the glass roof was made up from thousands of miniature solar panels. Everywhere we saw examples of eco-friendly design, alongside some of the most innovative and technologically advanced greenhouse ideas.

The Art of Interior Landscaping was fascinating, whilst we were disappointed that some of the "hardware" that we wanted to look at wasn't on show, the range and style of planters and design ideas more than made up for it. However, it was also good to know that some of our own ideas are very contemporary and hopefully you will see more of these filtering into your offices in due course.

When we eventually got back to the ferry terminal at the Hook of Holland that evening (having barely been in the Netherlands 12 hours) the force 8 winds couldn't disturb our well earned sleep!

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