I really love callas! And during this visit, I learned a lot about these amazing flowers. That's the beauty of my job, when I visit nurseries within the flower industry, I am always surprised at how much there is still to learn. This visit to the De Boer Calla and hydrangea nursery was a good one!
De Boer Calla and Hydrangea
Well, it's not hard to know what types of flowers you can find in the nursery of this company. Although the hydrangea season is almost over, there was still a lot to see for me. I spoke with Rob de Boer, who is very passionate about his job at de Boer Calla.
"I really enjoy standing with my feet on the ground, or even better in the clay. We go for specialty products in the hydrangea and calla assortment. We are small-scale growers, and have everything in our own hands. I love to grow flowers!"
Rob's father retired some 10 years ago, and they then grew hydrangea only. Rob immediately started with callas. His love for callas comes from his visit to Columbia, where he worked for Könst breeding as a representative for Spanish, speaking countries except Colombia. Rob was intrigued by the calla niche markets.
The History of Calla
The origin of this flower is situated in South Africa, but nowadays you only find hybrid species. It is not clear how they made their way to Europe, but they are depicted in an illustration from the 1664 illustration of the Royal Garden of Paris. Calla lily plants actually belong to Araceae family. Realizing the mistake was a German botanist who later created the genus Zantedeschia for this plant.
Originally there were only five families in the calla flowers, which means that all the varieties you fine today or a crossbreed between two of those five families. The major breeders of calla flowers are Dümmen Orange, and Captain Calla.
Fun Fact - Calla Lily in Greek Mythology
Calla lily has an interesting origin according to Greek Mythology. The flower’s name is in fact derived from the Greek word that literally means beautiful – calla. The origin story of this flower is often associated with the Greek goddess, Hera. According to the legend, Hera, Zeus’ wife, was blindsided. She didn’t know that Zeus had a son with a mortal woman. The baby boy, the one we all know as Hercules, was brought by Zeus to be breastfed by Hera when she was asleep. Awaken from her sleep, Hera didn’t seem to be happy and pushed Hercules away. Accidentally, drops of milk made their way to the sky, creating a milky way. Some of them fell to the ground and turned into beautiful flowers, the calla lilies. The calla lilies’ beauty made Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and desire develop jealousy. She expletively cursed the flowers by thrusting a large yellow pistil in the middle of the calla lily flower.
Rob de Boer is particularly proud of an exclusive hydrangea, which is a mutant of the variety 'Glowing Alps', which he completely selected and multiplied by himself, a two-colored pink/white and blue/white flower.
The cultivation system for growing calla flowers is copied from gerbera cultivation. With the calla, 1 bulb goes in a pot, so it is better controllable, the stems are shorter but firmer, and in case of illness, it remains at 1 bulb. The trade really loves the quality and uniformity of the flowers. De Boer grows a very heavy quality, which is appreciated by their florist customers.
They grow callas in spring (for the wedding season and Mother's Day) and autumn (All Saints' Day) from the greenhouse. And not in the wintertime, because then you need lighting. In summer they do not grow either, because a lot of flowers come from outside, making the market price difficult for the way they grow.
Calla Captain Carrera, which has a deep black color and a very large chalice.
Rob would like to have something more modern, a large processing machine, but that is not possible at his current location, so, a slightly larger greenhouse is needed! He believes in specialization and is thinking of removing Hydrangea and focusing entirely on calla.
Visit their website here.