Calm Before the Storm

I would like to start this newsletter by thanking Janneke and Bert Hermans for the kind email that I recently received.
They wrote the following warm words:

It is Sunday morning and there already is an email.
A cheerful and interesting one from Fluwel.
This day cannot get any better.
Even though we are 80 and 73 and are waiting for a flat in a nursing home, Fluwel is like a candy box to us. I actually should not order any candy from this box anymore, because my garden already gifted me a lovely selection of flowerbulbs this year. But enough is not always enough in this case, and in a flat there is always room for flowerpots on the balcony.
So today I will again look into your candybox and order for next spring. Here in my house, or for on the balcony in the nursing home. Your email gives life!
Thank you so much for it.

After I asked Hanneke and Bert if I could use this email in the newsletter they complimented me even more.

I did not only get seduced by the way the candy looks, but also by the story that is behind each of the pieces. It is prose!
Thank you for the wonderful stories about each flower bulb that made me buy more than my balcony can handle.

Daffodil Loving Her

Sometimes I almost forget, but wow I love my job. Making people happy with all the beautiful things flower bulbs and mother Nature have to offer..

Thank you Janneke and Bert, it means a lot to us to receive these types of emails.

Joost, for example, also sent me this fun photo with the words; “they are doing so well again! Have a great summer.” Isn’t that fun?

Or this photo of Lilium Magnefique made by Ari, from the north of Finland. In Finland it is light outside 24/7, but still Ari mentioned that this Lily is most beautiful in the night, when diffusing an enchanting smell.

Not all emails are like these ones, sometimes things do not go according to expectation as well. But often customers are easily satisfied with some good advice and encouraging words. Some people give me the expression that they think flower bulbs will always do perfectly when ordering from Fluwel. I am sorry, but that is not completely true. Flower bulbs need a lot of nursing just like all other plants need. Whether it is a radish, a rose, or a rock plant, putting them in some soil and never looking back will often not work out. Even though flower bulbs are, in my opinion, one of the easiest plants to get to flower, it is always recommended to read the tips for planting on our website before you trust them to your soil.

I personally always try to plant a few of each flower bulb species that we offer in our web shop, to see if they grow according to expectations. And what do you think, even with me it doesn’t work out sometimes. Above you can find the Lilies that are available on out web site. Some pots are first-years, others are there for two or even three years now. There also are some species that are just there for testing, when they are doing well, we will introduce those next year.

This makes me a little upset on the other hand; a night of wind and rain makes a beautiful pot with Lilies fall down. But this does show the strength of other Lilies; the pot of Sunset Boulevard next to it makes me happy. This year also made me learn that when you plant big bulbs, like the ones that we deliver, they do need space. Of most species I planted 5 bulbs per pot and I find now that they are often standing to close to each other. If I would have planted them a little more spacious, they would have come better to their right.

As you can see, there will be a festival of flowers around my house. Especially when the Begonias and Dahlias will flower it will look amazing. At last the Nerines and the Amarines will flower. These two always raise concern of many of our customers; we receive many emails with questions about why they will not flower. But no need to worry, they will only do so when autumn is around the corner.

The Zantedeschia’s are doing great this summer, not one of them has decided to not show up this year. Of the Dahlias I do have a few that are doing a little less than the rest. Sometimes one or two of the three planted tubers will not show up. Though this sounds worse than it is. Of the 400 Dahlias, maybe 10 did not show up. The rest is doing fine.

Maybe this is caused by flowers being dried up too much. I only start planting in the third week of May when we are completely finished with sending your tubers to you. If you have Dahlias that decided not to come up, and you are sure that it was not the snails, please let us know. If you took care of them well, and they are not coming up, we are happy to reimburse them.


I almost forgot the title of this newsletter: Calm Before the Storm. For the breeders of flower bulbs, the hay season arrived and the harvesting and processing of the bulbs is in full swing. However, at our own nursery we mostly have Daffodils and they are not ready for harvesting yet. At our barn it truly feels like calm before the storm. There are some Tulips and Crocuses coming in, but still too little to get the machinery started. Give it a week, then we can start preparing bulbs for our American customers.

But first lets enjoy the calm, before we are sweating in the barn again.

See you next week,
Carlos van der Veek