Meet the family Van der Peijl of nursery Van der Peijl Tuinplanten, Zundert, The Netherlands
How long has the nursery been in your family?
Alex van der Peijl began growing his very first plants on 3.2 hectares of land in the Brabant town of Bavel. It was an open-field nursery producing mainly heathers and conifers. After several years, the first 2,000-m2 greenhouse was built and the company started growing shrubs in foil bags. This was before the cultivation of plants in pots. During the next few years demand increased and the greenhouse was expanded to 8,000 m2, mainly for the cultivation of shrubs.
In 1995, Alex van der Peijl’s son, Jean-Pierre van der Peijl, finished school at the age of 19, all the fields were renewed and the company began producing a wider range of plants. In 2007, Jean-Pierre joined the company, and the range was expanded again with larger-sized garden plants (C7.5). This proved to be a success, and in the same year we purchased a potting machine, a bark spreader and an additional forklift truck.
The nursery soon became too small, and the two extra rented facilities were not very practical in terms of logistics. But the municipality of Breda did not allow us to extend the nursery.
It took four years before we found a suitable location in Zundert, with more than 7 hectares of land with on it an 8,000-m2 greenhouse, a one-hectare container field and two sheds. The main advantage was that this location had 5.5 hectares of empty land and a large buildable location. Four years later, the land was completely used, and we now have a 22,000-m2 greenhouse and 4 hectares of container fields. The nursery also has a state-of-the art automation system and the product range has been expanded even further.
Our range now also includes many exclusive plant species, such as Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’, and the Hydrangea Little XS collection. With more than 90% of our (end) users being high-quality garden centres, our aim is to bring quality to as high a level as possible.
Size of the nursery back then and today
Back then: 3.2 ha
Today: 7.1 ha, of which 35% runs at double capacity utilisation per year.
Hydrangea paniculata and macrophylla, Viburnum tinus in varieties, Prunus Laurocerasus and lusitanica in exclusive sizes, Hydrangea Little XS®, Ilex crenata ‘Dark Green’®.
To grow a high-quality product as efficiently as possible. To continue to develop to remain competitive and to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. To provide customers and consumers with first-class service.
What has been the biggest operational change since the establishment of the nursery?
We have seen many changes, including an increase in the demand for ever smaller numbers of plants, and customer demand for shorter delivery times. I came to Zundert as a grower, but now I'm actually more of a manager.
The quality requirements have also become more stringent. Meeting these requirements is becoming more and more of a challenge with all the new and future regulations in relation to crop pesticides.
In what way have your customers changed over the past 50 years?
Our customer base used to be made up mostly of wholesalers, municipalities and a handful of garden centres.
Over the years, garden centres have become our main customers.
It used to be customary for plants to be ordered a few days or more in advance. Now you’re lucky if you get half a day to deliver.
How long have you been familiar with Osmocote?
I’m 38 years old, and I cannot recall that we have ever used any other base fertilizer than Osmocote. We used to apply it manually in the old days. Fortunately, it has been mixed into the growing medium for quite some time now.
What is your experience with Osmocote? How does it help you achieve your objectives?
My experiences with Osmocote are very positive. We use 3.5-kg base fertilizer per m3, which allows us to fine-tune our fertilizer programme with the A-B tanks very precisely. Over the past years, Osmocote has proven to offer highly reliable release patterns. It’s not the cheapest of controlled release fertilizers, but in our opinion it is the best. What is important to us is that the plant, when it leaves the nursery, can survive on the fertilizer in the pot for at least a few months.
How do you see the future of your nursery?
The future looks bright and demand is currently on an upward trend.
As far as cultivation is concerned, it will become more and more challenging to meet all the new regulations.
We would like to expand our nursery further, because at the moment we are using every space to its maximum capacity. But all in good time, with the right people and staff.
We would like to thank Jean-Pierre Van der Peijl and his family for their contribution to 50 Years of Osmocote!