The Strelitzia nursery from brothers Roland and Barry Duyvesteijn in Zevenhuizen, give a warm and exotic flair to your typical Dutch town! Each brother has his own area of expertise. To Roland that’s sales and Barry is in charge of the breeding and selection of these birds of paradise. We visited their 6 acres of greenhouse for a personal tour with the 2 gentlemen.
When we walk through the greenhouse, we immediately notice the different heat levels. The greenhouse is divided into three different areas with each a different temperature. Roland says that there is a warm, mild and cool area. With this approach, the Strelitzias have the best conditions to develop and grow in their own pace. Optimal growing conditions is very important at Holland Strelitzia and Roland and Barry keep their crops in top condition by growing sustainably.
The woodstove that was placed four years ago is part of their sustainable approach. How it works? The woodstove heats up a buffer tank with approx. 180 cubic meter of water at a constant 90 degrees celcius. This warm water runs through water pipes throughout the greenhouse, heating up the different areas. Eventually, this water comes back to the buffer tank, is re-heated and re-used in the same cycle. A local company processes the growing and cutting waste back into a product, which can be used to heat up the woodstove. “The whole process is a cycle and 100% CO2 neutral”. Roland says that it was quite nerve wrecking when they just placed the stove. “We took turns sleeping next to it just to keep an eye on things!”.
Holland Strelitzia’s operation is also 100% organic and use only natural pest control, such as ichneumon flies and predatory mites. Barry says that harmful bugs are eaten by their natural enemies, which creates a natural balance. “Natural pest control works 24 hours a day, making it cleaner and more sustainable”. This allows the Strelitzias to develop until they are ready to be cut, including their signature dark blue stamen! “A good quality Strelitzia has two dark blue stamens. Strelitzias from abroad usually don’t have this feature”. As opposed to foreign growers, the Duyvestein brothers cut their Strelitzias only when the flowers have the shade of colour including the two blue stamens!