Meet the Grower; K.A. Buijs ILex Verticillata
It is still fairly quiet at the Buys nursery. The family business of 4 ha is located at Uiterweg in Aalsmeer, and borders the Westeinderplassen. In previous years Lilacs were grown, but due to setbacks in the cultivation and the bad pricing, they looked for an alternative. In 2006, this finally became the Ilex Verticillata, and with success! At the moment, there are about 18,000 bushes at the plantations, from which about 180,000 branches are harvested during the season.
In order to provide good quality, there are a maximum of ten branches on a bush. Smaller and shorter branches are cut away to give the plant more light and air. This gives the shrub the chance to form beautiful branches. The berries do not just appear on the bush, as Ilex has female and male plants. The male plants provide the pollen and, with the help of bees, the flowers of the female bushes are pollinated in the spring, after which they grow into berries.
Halfway through the growth, the bushes are treated with a growth inhibitor, in order to obtain a compact branch and to prevent sagging.
The grower's biggest enemy is the birds that eat the berries when they turn red, but a heavy hailstorm can also do serious damage to the crop.
If all goes according to plan, around the end of September, beginning of October, the branches will be harvested 'for the foot'. The berries are then in colour and the branches are sprinkled with water in the shed and then put under black tarpaulin for a certain period of time. This will loosen the leaves, so that only beautiful red berries remain on the branches.
When the leaves are off, the branches are sorted by length and processed in the barn before going to their final destination.
From the beginning of November till the end of December, this berry shrub is plenty available again and will be seen in many arrangements around Christmas.
Looking for inspiration? Then check out the new online 365dagen magazine.
Also check out our latest blog here Herfstsfeer 2022.