BLOG: Grower report FN Kempen

About 3 months ago I’m welcomed at nursery F.N. Kempen. It’s winter, and things are still fairly quiet at the nursery. We sit down for an interesting chat about sustainability, trends in garden plants, and developments at garden centres. I’m also shown some very special developments at this grower.

Tell us a little about the F.N Kempen nursery.
We supply inspiring, visually attractive garden plants, that are identified by our stylish black labels so that customers know who grew them. Species we’re known for include Lavender, Lithodora, Echinacea and Dianthus (as a perennial). Our range is much wider than this, however, and is designed so we can supply visually attractive plants throughout the year. Sustainability and novelties are other important aspects for us. Basically, our objective is to be the ideal garden plant partner for the green retail trade.

What does it take to give garden centres perfect service?
A perennial doesn’t look very attractive at the start of its annual cycle. However, when the leaves are healthy and fresh once more and the flowers appear, it suddenly becomes a highly desirable product. We release our plants when they’re looking attractive, and don’t supply any plants that aren’t ready for retail. This works out very well and means we can enjoy healthy turnover.

Another of our objectives is sustainability. We use as few pesticides as possible when we cultivate our plants, so this is something garden centres don’t have to worry about. Most of our plants attract bees and butterflies, so consumers can relax in the knowledge that they’re helping biodiversity by planting our flowering plants.

We also monitor gardening trends closely and adapt our range accordingly.

MangaveAre there any trends in garden plants at the moment?
Absolutely! Reflecting the Urban Jungle trend, we’ve noticed that garden plants which are highly ornamental thanks to their special leaves have become very popular, examples being Euphorbia, Heuchera, Bergenia and Sedum. Another trend is the demand for plants that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Our garden cactus concept ‘Rock your Garden’ is a good example of what consumers are looking for at the moment. Another is a special novelty which we’ll be launching soon: the Mangave!

How do you manage to keep coming up with special concepts and novelties?
We’re an open and transparent company and enjoy talking with all kinds of enthusiasts worldwide. This is helping us build a network which benefits everyone involved. We often test new products through this network before placing them on the market. Our priority isn’t about obtaining exclusive rights, but about making the image garden centres have of us as interesting as possible.

Do you ever visit garden centres outside the Netherlands.
Of course, and I’ve noticed that this is increasingly important. It’s not enough to simply offer a range of products, you have to stimulate the consumer’s imagination. I’ve noticed garden centres using attractive plant and colour combinations, and themes such as the biodiversity garden.

How are you enjoying working with Javado?
Javado is good at selling novelties. Another important aspect is that we get lots of feedback through Javado. We like hearing about customers’ experiences with our products. Over the years, Javado has grown from a player who orders small quantities per tray and layer to a customer buying entire CC-trolleys.

What are your future plans?
We aim to continue to inspire with our attractive range and our novelties!

Published on: 22 April 2020