After a long time, I would like to come with another interesting post. I had the chance to visit a nursery I wanted for a long time, but never had the real chance. This opportunity came on Friday 28th of August, when I could visit the Akerne Orchids nursery in Schoten.
My trip was quite adventurous. I recommend coming here by car or taxi – I did my journey on foot and with train. My journey started from Brussels with a train to Antwerpen, and from there with a bus to Schoten, and within Schoten on foot. Sounds simple, but finding the right bus and the right way took me quite a lot of preparation, not to mention I got lost couple of time… but it was worthy! Before going to the nursery I contacted the owner(s). I was surprised that after 1 or 2 days I have received a message from the nursery – from Kenneth – that it isn’t a problem to come and we have arranged a day for the visit.
Kenneth Bruyninckx took recently over the nursery from his parents, Dirk and Diane Bruyninckx – De Langhe, who established a commercial nursery in 1979. The whole story started with the passion of collecting orchids in the early 1970’s and after years, they have decided to launch their own nursery, where they have a commercial section and a private section.
Website of Akerne Orchids: http://akerne-orchids.com
I was lucky enough to get access to both private and commercial section of the greenhouse. When I arrived I have met with Kenneth and was curious about some background information about their business…
The Akerne Orchid nursery is located on 700 m2, from which 400m2 is for the private collection only. There is a huge selection of orchids, but to be specific how many different species Kenneth couldn’t tell me exactly. Nevertheless if you want to see about 10.000-20.000 orchids, you are at the right place. There isn’t a specific category system for the plants, only that the greenhouse is divided into 2 sections: A cooler temperature section and warm and intermediate temperature section. First my journey started at the private collection part:
“But why is there a private section and what purpose?” – You can ask. I have also asked Kenneth. It has multiple purposes, first and most importantly to keep at least 2 specimen to ensure the genetic material – propagation, divisions. Here you can also find plants which are used for events, shows – from which some are even award-winning orchids. So you can call the private section a so-called nursery stock, warehouse. These plants are not for sale and they are being looked after carefully. Some orchids here are over 26 years old and still looking mesmerizing.
Some of these plants even come from their original environment (Caribbean, Asia), since in the early 80’s there weren’t any laws and regulations which were prohibiting the exploitation of orchids in nature, while other specimen were traded during the time.
The other section of the greenhouse was the commercial section. Here are also some very unique specimen.
Which fascinated me in this section, was the tillandsia. Some specimen were stunning.
As a plant collector I couldn’t resist, so I had to buy for myself an orchid. During the buying process, I had a short talk with Kenneth, and he explained me *spoiler alert* that the transparent plastic pot for orchids is just marketing. As you can even see in the nursery (even the mature ones!) are in black pots. I asked why and how?! He told me that even in nature it is common that moss grow on the roots of the orchids, thus covering the roots from light. So next time when you are thinking to spend more money on transparent “special” orchid pots, no need to, because your orchid doesn’t require it!
Here you can see the pictures in higher resolution:
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