What's going on here?- Dutch flower industry

Pacific Rim paige@hillkeep.ca
Tue, 04 Mar 2008 12:21:53 PST
I am a very small participant in the international bulb trade, but in my
experience bulbs and plants available only in small quantities do not go
through auction houses. Small specialist growers offer their
stock directly to wholesalers or even to final customers. The Dutch auctions
suit mass merchandise; there would not be 20 hardened bidders vying for a
handful of Ostrowskia magnifica tubers or Iris persica bulbs.
Selling directly suits small growers better. It also makes it possible for
catalogue makers to list uncommon plants with some assurance that they will
be available at shipping time.

"Some assurance" is not certainty, though. It is fairly common for a
wholesaler to list plants on spec, if they have been available in the past, 
hoping that they will be available again. And it is
not unheard-of for a small grower to confirm on spec. Crops fail, fools
oversell, shipments are confiscated by ignorant inspectors, or rerouted to
the wrong country, or rot in transit, or survive but prove not to be as

There is a lot to be said for growing one's own; I do that, too.

Not that I will ever claim that this is a rational business.

Paige Woodward

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