Ferry en Nancy Kliphuis
Terbregselaan 82
3055 RH Rotterdam
The Netherlands
+31 (0)10 - 4225372
        Why grow
- because of their fragrant herb-like scent?
- because there are so many edible flowers to
  garnish our meals?
- because old fashioned flowers are available once
- because they are harvested in their natural  
  growing season?
- because no chemicals are used?
- or maybe just to maintain a safe environment?
Some flowers, leaves and/or seeds have delighfull smells!!
Some examples:

   Name                Scent                Latin name                   Colour

Millfoil             herb-like            Achillea filip.               yellow
Mex.hyssop     aniseed/minty       Agastache            purple/blue
Fennel              aniseed                Foeniculum                 yellow
Spearmint           minty              Mentha spicata        light purple
                       Edible flowers
We actually already eat flowers!:
  cauliflower                       (the flower)
  broccoli                            (the flower)
  capers                              (the flower buds)
  cloves                               (the flower buds)
  saffron                              (the flower pistil)
There are many, many more! You may be familiar with Nasturtium (Tropaeolum), Marigold (Calendula), and the blue starry flowers of tyhe cucumber plant (Borage). They are attractive, tasty and even healthy. MIx them into salads, or use them as a garnish for any dish.
I once read: "If people ate more flowers, they would become more lovable." What a wonderful thought!!
             Old-fashioned wild flowers
Most of the plants we grow originate from non-hybrid seeds, such as the Cornflower, Columbine and Honesty, to name a few. We also have hybrid seeds from natural, or manual cross-pollination. Many of these have existed for as long as a century or more!
We do NOT use genetically manipulated seed. That is forbidden by SKAL. We use organic seed where possible, also harvesting from our own garden. We do not harvest seeds from the wild.
                       Natural season
Since we grow only outdoors, we follow the rhythm of the seasons. Our flowers grow freely and unrestrained. As a result, we are rewarded with strong stems, and flowers which exude a fresh naturalness about them. We accept that each flower and stem is larger, smaller, more crooked or straighter than the others. Each one is unique in its own way, which gives it its natural charm. Many of our customers love to work with these primeval artistic shapes!
                 No chemical fertilizers
Crop rotation
Our nursery is divided into 130 flower beds, each about 20 square meters, so crop rotation is no problem. This has the advantage that there is almost no need for extra fertilization, since each culture uses different nutrients in the soil, but it also returns different nutrients to the soil, in the same way green manure is used. We even consider "weeds" as green manure!
Dung/liquid manure
The liquid manure that we make is like a kind of "health-tea", full of minerals, vitamins etc. It helps plants become strong, which means they are more resistant to insect attacks and fungal diseases. We "brew" this tea, by putting stinging nettles, comphrey, horseradish and various weeds (all parts of the plants) in a container with water. After 5 - 7 days it is ready to use, in diluted form. We use it for our young seedlings, when they are still in their trays, and when they have just been planted in the open field.
We also use it, in combination with cow-manure pellets, for certain cultures which really need extra feeding. Some of these are Canterbury Bells, Sweet Rocket and the pumpkin family.
During the winter, we let the plants die off, forming a "blanket" over the land. We do not tidy up the flower beds, because all kinds of microscopic creatures do that for us, thereby keeping the important top soil very fertile. Any woody plant parts are chopped to smaller pieces, as they need a longer period to decompose on the compost heap.
               No chemical pesticides
Healthy plants do not easily get weak or sick, yet of course we do find aphids, white fly and many other insects that can cause devastation in mainly mono-cultures. To our surprise, we have also discovered that their predators are also present. Often aphids are found on one plant only. Should the aphid colony become too large, we cut off the affected stems, and physically trample them. Most often this is not necessary, fortunately.
In 1998, we had a very wet year and a huge slug problem. We collected them by hand - walked a mile - and considered them emigrated. They do help break down plant material in the compost heap, but oh dear, they do love young seedlings as well!!
We also see caterpillars of all colours. They leave their tell-tale holes in the leaves, and surprise us with many coloured butterflies/moths - and their function in pollination is all important!
Weeds! These are our biggest problem and major time consumer, maintenance-wise. We remove them manually - by hand or Dutch hoe, when weeding inside the beds. Fortunately we have a 7 horsepower cultivator, which we use to prepare new beds, but also we use it to rid the paths of weeds. That saves a lot of time!
              A clean environment
As a result of our activities, we are rewarded with a rich insect fauna - we've never seen some of these before! An example: The variety of spiders in the autumn almost makes the garden seem like a living zoo!!
Our animal visitors of a larger stature also surprise us. Besides cats, who feed on the many field mice, and voles (acts just like a mole! - sometimes lifting up our newly planted seedlings, which tests the stamina of our patience at times), we also are graced with visits from a hare, a male and female pheasants, falcons, storks, herons and also many ducks, and once in daylight we saw a fret! When swans fly over, their strong wing movements give a sound that is so majestic, that we still stand in awe to watch and listen! In Autumn we see the migratory birds heading South!
We both are of a "mid-life" age, and we have agreed that we shall do all that needs to be done in the garden, at-our-own-pace. This way we are able to do what we do. This gardening chapter of life has given us extra special feelings of joy - which sounds so simple typed up, but it goes down really deep in our emotional spectrum. If you've read up to this point, we'd love to hear from you! We can always learn from your experiences too!!
Floral greetings,
Ferry and Nancy Kliphuis.
In cooperation with nature
Why organic ?
A helping hand (Tim)
Campanula double
Fennel in the rain
The beautiful flower of Thornappel, though we grow them for their seedheads..
Who we are
Where you can buy our flowers
Latest news from our garden and links
Tips for prolonging vase life