1. Amsterdam is a lot like Portland. It feels pretty familiar except it is flat!!! but from the standpoint of a flower grower, the climate is very similar and their way of growing roses is very similar to ours. So it is good to see what roses do well in those conditions.
2. Talk about a "green" place. A huge commerce in plants, flowers and growing things, also ecologically the Netherlands is very green. The flatness makes it great to ride bikes there, but it seems safer because there are dedicated bike areas and everybody bikes, from kids to little old ladies. Nobody wears a helmet. Everybody talks on their cell phone while riding. Nobody wears special clothing. Everybody has a chain guard and mud guards on their bike to keep their good clothes from being messed up, because, yes it does rain a lot there.
3. People are friendly and they speak English. I am ashamed to admit that I have made very little effort to learn any Dutch, contrary to my usual practice when visiting a foreign country.
4. The above picture is the view from our lodging in the old part of Amsterdam. This is the Singel, one of the many canals in this area.
Every year they stage the Hortifair, a giant plant industry trade show. While that is going on there is also a show at the Aalsmeer auction, as well as open houses at all the breeders show greenhouses. So it is a good time to go and check out what's new in growing, equipment, etc.
Meanwhile in Portland...what happened to our golden October day? Yesterday was perfect. Today...raining again!
Show highlight: the top rose winners this year are Peach Avalanche and Tara, two roses we just planted this year. So that's rewarding to know that we already have the best! Peach Avalanche is a pale peach rose with a very large head and pale green outer leaves. Tara is a beautiful yellow rose that opens nicely.
I am still sorting out all the things I have seen here - also looking at lily varieties.
Visited several show greenhouses to see the roses growing and observe varieties that aren't named yet - still being selected from seedlings. So they just have numbers. Also one thing I did new this year was to visit the show at the Aalsmeer auction. There I saw lots of roses which are being grown in Holland under very similar conditions to our own in Oregon.
I'll share pictures when I get back to Portland!
The wedding bouquet shown above features our rose Biedermeier...a beautiful bouquet from Lucy's Informal Flowers in Hood River. Photograph courtesy of Richard Hallman Photography.
Unfortunately I won't be at the design show on Sunday because I'll be on a plane heading for Amsterdam to attend the International Hortifair. This enormous trade show for the green industry is where we go to scout out new rose varieties. Also they have the latest greenhouse technologies, advances in energy savings, organic pest control and other groovy stuff us plant people love to look at.
Last year the wildest thing I saw was a machine that used microwaves to sterilize the soil. Zap those nematodes!!!
Speaking of new technologies, and advances - we have begun to experiment with biofuel to heat our greenhouses. It's different "stuff" than biodiesel but related, kinda like grease, from the production of biodiesel. So far it seems to burn okay.
Moving ahead!!! The ideal thing would be to use biofuel to heat the greenhouses, recycle the CO2 by using it on the plants (they like it), and also a solar "farm" to help offset our winter lighting power bill. (The solar farm would also have sheep or goats grazing around it!) How's that for the dream... Anybody want to invest????
Hope to see you at the market tomorrow - then it's off to Amsterdam for a week so Norm will be at market while I'm gone. If you just speak to him on the phone - say hello to the real person!!!! ---Sandra