A real Aalsmeer flower
It’s Friday afternoon and I have an appointment with Gerrit and Gerard Hansen. Two real craft growers of lilacs in Aalsmeer. From generation to generation lilacs are grown here. The moment you arrive at their nursery you feel you are going back in time.
The company is established at the oldest agricultural part of Aalsmeer. The fields of isles where they grow lilacs are situated at the Westeinderplas. At the beginning of the last century the peat soil was dug off at this area, and by draining the land of the Haarlemmermeer the dug off were filled with water. That is how the Westeinderplas is created, where a strip of islands are separated by ditches. These isles are so called upperland. Because of the peat soil structure of the soil, it is extremely suitable arable land.
The Westeinderplas area is now a beautiful mixture of arabe land and woods and recreation isles. It is a delight for lovers of nature and aquatic sports.
While Gerrit and Gerard show me their greenhouses, they tell me growing lilacs is one of a long haul. It takes six years before you can cut the first branches of a bush. On the fields of isles they dig out the bushes by hand. The bushes are transported by boat to the greenhouses. In the greenhouse they bring the lilacs by heating into early bloom. After 4 to 6 weeks they transport back the leafless bushes to the fields where they will be planted again.This happens nowhere else in the world. Traditionally done in the Netherlands and really only in Aalsmeer.
Growing lilacs on the fields in the Westeinderplassen has its charms; you always need a boat to go there, to carry out all farming operations.
Now I know the story of the lilac growers, dominates a sense of great respect. I wonder if there will be a next generation of lilac growers. It’s really hard work and you have to be there day in day out.
It is a passion and I hope there is a future for this craftsmanship. Gerard has already started his own lilac museum. You can not imagine before you have seen it. When you want to get a lilac experience, contact me or Gerard Hansen.
more information at www.seringen.nl