Travels in Europe

David Hoffman David Hoffman, son of owners Jill & John Hoffman, joined the nursery as Project Manager at the beginning of March. David has been working in Europe for the past couple of years. Before returning to Hoffman Nursery, he spent February visiting nurseries in Europe. His travels were filled with generous hosts, friends, and lots of plants.

In Poland, David was welcomed by the Michalik family. Olek, a student, is a friend of David’s and has grown up around nurseries. Olek’s father manages Vitroflora, a facility near Bydgoszcz, Poland that specializes in mass production of geraniums. They have a large tissue culture lab, and they’re also developing a grass program.

David also spent time with Pat FitzGerald of Fitzgerald Nurseries Ltd. Pat’s nursery is in Co. Kilkenny in the southeastern part of Ireland. He hosted David for a short trip, but showed him a wonderful time. FitzGerald Nurseries developed the Evercolor® series of sedges, which we grow and love. Pat ships plants all across Europe.

Join us on a visual tour of these two sites. Let’s start in Poland at Vitroflora…

Olek Michalik with Heuchera
Olek Michalik gave David a tour of the facilities, which include two sites. Olek shows off some of the Heuchera they’‘re trialing.
Lots of geraniums
Vitroflora specializes in geraniums. Their facility is large and fully automated.
Ellepot machine
Plants are potted into Ellepots, which use degradable paper to wrap the media and form a plug. You can see the wrapping material on this ellepot machine.
Greenhouse automation
The greenhouse operation is automated so that trays are sent and retrieved from locations by computer command.
Railing and rollers
Trays can be stored once potted and then picked for shipping. The system does it all automatically.
Grading machine
A grading machine picks up the plugs, grades them, then sorts them into trays.
Shipping out plants
Plants readied for shipping.
Tissue culture lab
Vitroflora produces most of its stock via their tissue culture lab. They also sell TC starts to other facilities.
Plantlets ready for potting up.
Propagules from the TC lab ready for potting up.
Home and animals outside the nursery
The Michalik family lives next to the nursery. They keep a number of animals and grow much of their own food on the site.
The family also breeds roosters that are shown competitively. We love the feet on this one.
View from the house
The Michaliks also maintain an orchard, which overlooks the river valley below.
Bydgoszcz in northern Poland and lies on the Brda and Vistula rivers. The figure over the Brda River is in perfect balance, and was commissioned on Poland’s entry into the EU.
Pat FitzGerald and David Hoffman
In Ireland, Pat Fitzgerald hosted David Hoffman and showed him the sights. They start with a selfie.
Pat among EverColor sedges
Pat grows the EverColor series of sedges at this site. Some are grown in EverColor containers and sold as a finished plant.
EverColor plants under row covers
When first potted up, the EverColor propagules are kept under row covers.
New start developing callus
The row covers protect new starts while they develop callus in prepartion for rooting.
Rooted propagule
The rooted plants are given time to develop strong, healthy roots, but will grow quickly once they reach this stage.
Rooted plugs of EverColor
Young EverColor plugs sending out new roots.
Rows of EverColor sedges
The EverColor sedges are bright and colorful, making them perfect for container plantings.
EverColor sedges at garden center.
EverColor sedges at a garden center near the nursery.
House at FitzGerald Nurseries
This site at FitzGerald Nurseries used to be a cattle farm, and the surrounding area is still heavily agricultural.
Kilkenny Castle
Pat and David took time to see Kilkenny Castle, a historic site now managed by the Office of Public Works. The castle was built in 1195.
View from the castle
The castle and grounds overlook the town of Kilkenny.

David had a fantastic time during his travels, and his hosts were very welcoming. Big thanks to all of them for taking care of our guy!

Interested in the EverColor sedges we showed you above? Learn more about these fabulous sedges here.

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