WITH AWARD-WINNING BULB GROWER HENK VAN DER SLOT
Van der Slot - Lisse is an award-winning nursery known for their passion for growing top-quality tulips and daffodils. Thanks to owner Henk van der Slot’s expertise in bulb-forcing, our studio has the opportunity to photograph the newest tulip varieties before they make their debut in spring. We’ve entrusted Henk with these precious bulbs for more than 15 years. Needless to say, this partnership helps keep our Botanical Image Library updated with the newest and best varieties.
You’ve been forcing tulips for our photography for 15 years. How does this differ from the tulips you force for the cut flower market?
The tulips I force for Visions need to look as much like tulips grown outside as possible, meaning they’re a little shorter and have a deeper colour. For my own forcing, I need some more stem length to make the bunches of tulips uniform in length, and meet the requirement for a minimum length of 36 centimetres.
Flowers ready for the market
How do you split your time and attention between forcing and growing?
The forcing of tulips takes place from January 1 to May 1. When the tulips in the greenhouse are nearly finished, flowering usually begins outside. With some overlap, it’s fine to combine the two. Forcing is also a nice addition to bulb growing; you can test the new varieties in the greenhouse and replant the bulbs in the field to increase acreage.
Van der Slot - Lisse has been operating for more than 250 years. With this impressive history, how do you decide when to keep tradition and when to innovate?
The tradition is the business itself, with cultivation and forcing. The innovation lies in how we renew the assortment so that it’s future-proof.
Tulipa Ad Rem Parrot
How have changes in the market in recent years impacted your business and operations?
They haven’t really. Technical aspects of cultivation are what usually set change in motion. Restrictions from the government have the most influence on our operation.
Are you introducing any new varieties this year? Are there particular varieties that you’re enthusiastic about growing this season?
Yes, absolutely! Every year, I invest in 1 or 2 new varieties. This year Password has been added as a forcing tulip, and Parrot Ad Rem makes for a beautiful, hardy bunch of tulips. Additionally, Asian Beauty, a beautiful new double dark pink tulip.