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Azalea indica

Azalea japonica

 Rhododendron vireya

Deciduous azalea

Rhododendron

New

From a different perspective

 Lulstraat 3, 9770 Kruishoutem

 
 
 

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MISSION
Our COMPANY
How it all began
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Mission
 

We want to offer our customers a unique range of special azaleas. Quality is paramount for us and is central to everything we do: strong, beautiful and exclusive products, advice and individual work for our clients, knowledge and expertise in everything we do, with a respect for people and the environment.

 

Our company

 

Our company consists of 1.1 hectares of glass and plastic cover and an outdoor cultivation area of 7,000 m². We only grow azaleas, currently around 160,000 plants. We consciously strive for a very wide range: more than 200 varieties of outdoor azalea plus 120 indoor varieties, with an emphasis on the cultivation of azaleas with a tall stem, pyramidal shapes and extra-large plants.

Looking for new azalea varieties is an important activity in our company. We are constantly on the lookout for new colours, new shapes and new properties for our azaleas. Now and again we can unveil a special new variety, such as the ‘Princess Mathilde’ azalea, or the Ruby.

At our company we also devote a great deal of attention to the environment. Since 1999, we have taken part in the ‘Flemish environmental plan for floriculture’ project. This involves trying to produce the most environmentally friendly end product possible by means of registration. In addition, 80% of the water we use for the cultivation of azaleas is reused. This is achieved through the use of covered container fields, and the construction of a lava field and a boulder field. To prevent infections, the used water is decontaminated through a slow sand filter.

We have two highly experienced employees on our staff, and in the busy season our team is reinforced by three seasonal workers.

 

How it all began

 

Azaleas are in our genes. My great-grandfather, Gustaaf Van Oost, learned the tricks of the trade at L. Van Houtte and founded his first company in Sint-Denijs-Westrem in 1860; he later moved to Ghent, from where he was evicted and so relocated to Afsnee, where he first began to cultivate azaleas. His son René (there were three sons) took over from him, and very quickly began crossing and sowing, focusing mainly on producing early flowering varieties. Knowledge and expertise were handed down from generation to generation, and in 1981 it was my turn to continue the family tradition. With my wife, Martine Vandaele, I started a new company in Kruishoutem. From the beginning, our wish was to develop exclusive new varieties. Both my father and, above all, my grandfather had bred new plants, and I was able to build on their knowledge and experience to create new colours, shapes and variegations.

This was a major undertaking. In 1985, 65% of the azalea range consisted of different variations of a single cultivar. In addition, I set myself very high quality standards, which meant it would take another 10 years before the first new varieties ‘Antarctica’ and ‘Davina’ could be unveiled. The real crowning glory for these long years of selection work came at the opening of the Ghent Flower Show in 2000: my new variety was introduced and christened by Princess Mathilde of Belgium, who also gave her name to this beautiful azalea. Later on, we added a variety growing in the shape of a pyramid, called ‘Ruby’.

Once bitten by the bug of selection work, you can never let go. You will always see new challenges, and on a scientific level new techniques are constantly being developed. The possibilities are endless. This is how our work became our passion!

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