Part 3. Han's Delivers Yet Again: Henk the Hydrangea Man, Holland October 2010

This was one of my favourite parts of our trip and I love Hans for taking us there, as many you avid blog readers will know the Hydrangea is one of my most favourite event flowers, its versitility and out and out gorgeousness is un-paralelled, the varieties and uniqueness of each bloom is exciting and seriously desirable, so visiting the birthplace of some of my favourite varieties like Papillion and You & me Together was beyond my dreams but as ever Hans came up with the goods and managed to organise a behind the scenes tour of one the quietest, calmest and ethereal places I've ever visited, I whispered throughout our visit!
Henk Sonneveld is a serious Flower Hero of mine, he is very tall possibly 6'8" and quite honestly a giant among flower men, he handles his hydrangeas as if they are women, cupping each plump flower head in his generous hands, with a gentleness and sensitivity un-heard of in non flower folk (a little titilation for Christina here in the office she has a thing about tall men!)

I love Hydrangea's refusal to conform, they just aren't prepared to be uniformed each plant has a number of different sized heads at different stages of developement, at completely different heights. Certain ones show "Fresh" heads these are the blooms in clear and fresh colour whilst others on the same plant have "Classic" heads these are the ones we in the UK sometimes call autumn coloured Hydrangeas where the colour has turned to green and created a really fabulous coloured bloom with light and shade, interest and beauty.

Fresh Hydrangea

Classic Hydrangea

"Verena" is a pale pink Hydrangea as a "Fresh" and then green with magenta edges as a "Classic" the image below shows masses of Classic Verena with just a few heads of Fresh Verena in and amongst.

Henk and his family have been involved in the cultivation of Hydrangeas since 1999, the greenhouses at the Sonneveld Nursery cover an area of some 30,000 square metres, Henk explained to us how they use different screens in the ceilings of the greenhouses to create optimal environments for the different varieties dependent on when they are to be harvested.

I love love love this Hydrangea she's called "Coco" and has double florets that are just soooo perfect

At the end of each tunnel of Hydrangeas is a picture of the varieties and how they look as a classic or a fresh bloom, Peppermint is just gorgeous!

The Picking is all done by hand and the flowers are very carefully selected.

For Metz customers Henk's Hydrangeas are literally cut in the morning and are on transport to the UK on the same day arriving with us the following day.
All of the Sonneveld Hydrangeas are certified with MPS-A, which proves an awareness of the environment in the cultivation of hortensia.
After harvesting the flowers, the stems are put directly into water and kept cool, this stimulates the preservability of the flower.

Henk the flower hero of the day and "Mr Cool" Hans

"Expression" is the most eye catching Hydrangea

The Classic Hydrangeas last for ages, they can dehydrate after a few weeks and can be used as a dried flower, check out our autumn window!!

The Hydrangeas are so tall

Me in my hydrangea frock with Henk the Hydrangea man


The guys measuring the Hydrangeas before cutting and packing

This was a wonderful day and we'd really like to thank Henk for his hospitality, his nursery is such a joy, huge thanks also to Mr Cool Hans from Metz for opening yet another gateway to a spectacular grower!


Im so glad there's an actual photograph to support the 'cupping' description! Xx
Janet said…
I love the petal structure of the "you and me together" hydrangea!
Romantico said…
in my country Tunisia, we call hydrangea "trongia". I love it! we use its leaves in tea.

Gorgeous flowers! Love the papillion!
Anonymous said…
Goodmorning Jane,

Thanks for sending us this report of your visit to our nursery. It was very pleasant for us to read it all. Our compliments for the nice fotos that you have made! What you wrote about the hydrangea is accurate and pleasant to read!

Till next time,

Piet, Steve en Henk sonneveld

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