About the topic: The Griffioen Wassenaar perennial plant nursery was founded in 1923, originally for the cultivation of perennials now in square 1.4 litre P11 pots, for sale via garden centres in north-west Europe.

Griffioen grows millions of perennials every year. All these plants get a spot in natural surroundings. Even as they are growing, the plants are very attractive for bees and other beneficial insects, who feast on their nectar and pollen. In the garden and the public space, the plants then go on to play an important role for many years.

At the start of this century, plant beds with perennials disappeared from many public spaces due to their excessive management costs. In 2004, the GreentoColour® concept was born from our passion for perennials. It is a low-maintenance and colourful perennial plant concept with a long life span and minimal management costs.

With the broad variety of perennials, their inflorescence, and the long flowering season from May through November, the GreentoColour perennials are highly important for many different types of butterflies, bees, other insects and animal life. This boosts biodiversity.

Climate changes cause temperatures to rise; particularly in cities. We must get ready to face weather extremes such as downpours, dry periods and heat waves. So, what are the solutions?

In the city, things are as crowded underground as they are above ground, and space for green is scarce. A GreentoColour perennial border needs only 40 cm of root space; where relevant in a raised plant bed.

Trees and plants are a natural solution to heat stress, and there is always room for perennials.

About the Speaker: Before I became the general manager of perennial grower Griffioen Wassenaar I had been working for 18 years as a policy official for the ministries of LNV (agriculture) and EZ (Economic Affairs) at home and abroad. 

Countless subjects passed the revue, such as EC in Brussels (CSA = Committee Special Agriculture), CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), Agricultural Attache for Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, PAS (Programme Approach to Nitrogen), the Ukrainian ground market and the development of a horticultural area in Ethiopia. After these experiences it was time for something different. But .. after 18 years it was time for something else.

Because Griffioen focuses on retail such as garden centres as well as (municipal) government, they were looking for someone with a feel for both branches. I have that and that’s how I came to join the company in 2018.

Our nursery is a knowledge-intensive organisation with people who know much better than me how plants behave in the field. I am not going to outdo my colleagues in this, but I am decisive in setting the course and fostering a pleasant working environment.

My education consisted of studying at the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. VHL is the most sustainable university of applied sciences in the Netherlands and has an international focus. I followed this up with a study Agricultural Economics at the Wageningen University. But more importantly I am endowed with a large doses of GBV (Gezond Boeren Verstand = Healthy Common Sense).

February 13th, 2024 – Stefan Verbunt – “Biodiversity in cities with a focus on perennials”
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