A keen band of enthusiasts braved the threatening weather on Friday 21st October to take a peek behind the scenes of 3 wholesale nurseries in the Dandenongs.
Our first stop was Sunny Hill Flowers in Silvan, where proprietors Rob & Mariske de Wit took us through the process involved in making their beautiful blooms available to us – from the importation of bulbs from the Netherlands, through the planting and growing, to picking and packaging. Their acres of glasshouse-grown Liliums and Irises were amazing. We also saw first-hand their special variety ‘Roselily’ – a fragrant, pollen-free version.
Next stop was TNB Tulips, where Els Bakker showed us her Tulip growing facility. We watched as workers sorted the bulbs (from Tasmania) and planted them cheek-by-jowl in plastic crates. In the glasshouses we saw workers hand-plucking the tulips which were ‘ready’ and channelling them to the sorting machine where they were measured for size and made into bunches before being sleeved ready for transport. Els kindly gave us each a bunch of tulips to take home.
A delicious lunch was enjoyed at ‘Seasons’ Restaurant at ‘Cloudehill’ in Olinda. The new green and purple foliage of the Maples at ‘Cloudehill’ formed a beautiful vista from our tables.
Our last stop was at Paeon Nursery in Monbulk where Ron Boekel showed us over his farm and described the ideal growing conditions for Paeonies. Later in his shed we were shown some of his best blooms and given the opportunity to order some at wholesale prices – a chance which many of us took advantage of! We can’t wait for their delivery!
Thanks goes to each of the proprietors who gave generously of their time and knowledge.