Edwin has a garden picking tulips in Italy: ‘This weekend is going to be crazy’

Edwin has a garden picking tulips in Italy: 'This weekend is going to be crazy'

“We make our lamp fields as pretty as possible, mixing colors and putting windmills and benches in between,” says Edwin Coman.

In two cathartic gardens that he and partner Nitsuhe Wolanios now own in Italy, visitors can admire the splendor of the flowers, and the €4 per person entry fee also includes two tulips.

Pay extra for selection

If they want to pick more tulips themselves, visitors have to pay more for it. The amount varies. At the beginning of the season the price is 1 euro per tulip, later, when everything is in full bloom, 1.50 per tulip.

“People here really like flowers, but flowers here are much more expensive than in Germany, for example. When Italians buy flowers, they buy less, while they buy very beautiful ones,” says Koman.

More than 1 million bulbs

So a second Keukenhof, but in Italy? Koeman does not want to make this comparison. At Tulipani Italiani (literally: Italian tulips) they still plant the tulip bulbs by hand and the whole is still a bit smaller than Keukenhof’s, Koeman explains.

But there is still an impressive amount of bulbs that have gone into the ground and are blooming. At the site near Milan, where Tulipani Italiani began, there are about 600,000 flower bulbs.

And near Turin, another city in northern Italy, where Koeman also planted a plot for the first time this year, there are another 470,000 bulbs. Less than 7 million Keukenhof pieces, but together they’re still about more than 1 million pieces.

‘instant success’

Italians love to come here. “At that time, we were the first in Italy where visitors were allowed to pick flowers themselves,” Koman says.

“There were quite a few skeptics who thought it wasn’t going to work, but the first year was an instant success and we expanded after that.”

Consider dry weather

During the week, Koeman is very pleased with a thousand visitors a day. But during the holidays they sometimes double. But the majority of Italians come on weekends. Cuman and Lalanius then receive 5,000 to 9,000 visitors per day.

But then it should not rain, because then there will be much less people. “Then you lose a tremendous amount of sales,” Koeman says.

It comes from the lily family

It should come as no surprise that Koeman loves tulips. “I am from the lavender family,” he says. Coman worked for, among other things, a bulb exporter, a bulb trading market and a tulip nursery.

When Koeman’s brother started a tree-picking garden in the US, he helped out there for a while. Something like that seemed to Koeman, but now it is difficult to enter the United States. In one of his previous jobs, he had to learn Italian, and Koeman decided seven years ago to take the plunge in Italy with his partner Nitsuhe Wolanios.

They took turns to Turin

It was a difficult time, especially in the beginning, also because Koeman and his partner have two children together. They now have a cleaning lady and a babysitter for the first time, but they must, because they take turns going to Turin for a few days to arrange things for their picking garden there.

Gradually the organization becomes larger. But finding employees is difficult, because it is also a seasonal job. This is why Koeman often has to find new people every year.

Busy

The selection gardens are only open for a few weeks, Koeman says, from about March 20 to the end of April. At first he thought he’d have plenty of time in the rest of the year, he says, but that’s disappointing.

“I’ve been busy managing all May, and because you’re now working seven days a week, you can’t do a lot of things. So that’ll have to make up for it later.”

It’s a little quieter in the summer, but it starts again in September, because then we have to see which bulbs did the best and then buy them. Furthermore, a new permit must be applied for each year.

This weekend is going to be crazy.

So Koeman is not considering expanding to other locations at the moment. At most, he is considering extending the blooming season by planting bulbs of flowers that bloom before tulips, and flowers that bloom after tulips, such as irises. Then more visitors can come.

This Easter weekend, Koeman and his partner will surely be very busy. “It would be crazy,” he says.

You can see in this video that high gas prices have made this method of growing tulips by farmer Nils even more interesting:

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