Organisation - March 23, 2011

Dreijen roses moving to Belmonte

The number of roses in Belmonte arboretum is set to triple with the addition of the roses from De Dreijen arboretum.

Henk Seunninga (bent down): I reckon less than five percent will not survive the move.
The team of gardeners at Belmonte has been busy planting roses for nearly a week now. And they have a few more days' work still to go, says foreman Henk Seunninga. Not surprising given the numbers: two plants each of 396 different rose varieties. The rest of the roses at Dreijen (there can be up to four plants per variety) will be dumped in the wheelie bin. The move will give the roses a new future only a stone's throw away from their old location.
Mistake
Each rose bush has a card attached with its name and number. There is also a small stake next to each bush with data on. 'A double check', explains the foreman. 'The more information the better.' Because it is easy to make a mistake. And try then matching the right name and number to the right rose. Seunninga: 'Then it will be my fault, of course.' Which is why he keeps a close eye on everything.
Duplicates
The new rose beds are alongside the birch-lined path in the vicinity of the large viewing point at Belmonte. This is the only place apart from the lawns where there is still room, as Seunninga explains. 'But you can't get rid of the lawns, as they are the lines of sight.' The rose beds also fit in with the existing collection of roses. Seunninga estimates there are already about two hundred different varieties. 'But there are bound to be duplicates. Some names seem very familiar to me.' Together, the existing roses and new plants form the largest collection of roses in the Netherlands.
Nice job
Where exactly each rose should go is decided on the spot. There is no predefined planting plan. 'That is just not feasible. We will add their details to the map later using the Dreijen administrative records. The new organization in charge of the collection (the gene bank) will then give them a new number.' According to Seunninga, it is this responsibility that makes it such a nice job for the team of gardeners. 'It is a challenge for us. In the past it used to be the horticulturists who would decide this kind of thing - you wouldn't be allowed to do anything yourself. Now it's up to us.'
Retiring
What is more, this is the foreman's last job. He will be retiring at the end of this year. 'It's great that I can finish like this. It gives a feeling of satisfaction.' The fine weather means there are already buds starting to appear on some bushes. But Seunninga says this does not have to be a problem. 'As long as they get enough water. They are growing now. Either they carry on growing or they die. I reckon less than five percent will not survive the move.' We will see whether that is the case in a few months' time, as in June the roses will come into bloom.

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