Research visit to the Netherlands to study aspects of Nerine production

Why I Applied for the Bursary

I thought that speaking with and gathering information from skillful Nerine growers, plant health experts and micropropagation specialists in a commercial context would improve and speed up the progress of my research project, therefore improving outcomes for project stakeholders. Caroline Stone gave me the email address for Kitty de Jong who runs Agro Fleur Select, a cut flower and bulb producer growing a range of Nerines. I made contact with Kitty and she agreed to give me email addresses of specialists I could talk to about my project. I needed to learn about micropropagation of this species but also had other questions relating to care regime, production, economy, research relating to Nerines and the financial and time impact of virus infected stock (to name a few). I realised the best way to collect information and make necessary contacts for this project was to travel to the Netherlands and talk to people in the industry.

I made preliminary arrangements with Kitty and then put together an outline plan with associated costs and submitted my application to Plant Heritage Devon. I was thrilled when I found out I had been successful and developed my plan further. Each specialist I contacted was happy to spend between a few hours and a day talking to me.

This is the itinerary I put together:

  • Sunday 27th September - Fly to Amsterdam, travel to Kitty de Jong and visit Agro Fleur Select business. Travel to accommodation.
  • Monday 28th September - Set up material for Nerine flower show at CNB building. Visit outdoor growing area of Agro Fleur Select, scout for virus symptoms and discuss growing methods. Visit Johan van Scheepen at the KAVB Library to search for relevant information.
  • Tuesday 29th September - Visit Leo van Leeuwen, a plant health inspector for Naktuinbouw.
  • Wednesday 30th September - Flower auction visit and then field trip to specialist outdoor Nerine growing area.
  • Thursday 1st October - Visit the Iribov Micropropagation Laboratory for facility tour and afternoon in the propagation and analytical laboratories.
  • Friday 2nd October - Visit Paul van Leeuwen, a researcher and plant health specialist at PPO-BBF Lisse.
  • Saturday 3rd October - Fly to Bristol, travel home.