Once a decade, the Netherlands Horticulture Council organizes an exposition celebrating and highlighting horticulture’s contribution to life. The event is a World’s Fair of horticultural products, innovations in food production, and the beauty of plants in all forms. Participants from around the world showcase their garden style and their premium exports from their part of the planet.
The Netherlands is a small country, but it holds an important place in the world of horticulture. Since the 1500’s their explorers circled the globe to find unique plants and flowers, bringing them home to what is claimed to be the world’s first botanical garden in Leiden. Today the Netherlands leads the world in floral development. From computerized grading and sorting of blooms to x-ray evaluation detailing the age and quality of the flower to the market auction and around-the-world delivery of fresh flowers. Holland knows flowers. (ATG 2012)
As a Traveling Gardener, I wrote those words ten years ago after visiting Floriade in 2012. All remains true with a new 2022 Floriade opened in May 2022 until Oct 8th, 2022. I’m packed and ready to go to see the international world of horticulture again. This year’s focus is on making our urban areas more livable as projections are “By 2050, some 68% of the global population will live in cities on a mere 2% of the earth’s surface area.*”(United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Urbanization Prospects 2018)
As a society, we cannot embrace this significant impact on living without making our cities appealing and keeping them safe and healthy.
This 2022 Floriade emphasizes four sub-themes:*
“Greening the City: more greenery:” —greener cities are more livable for people, pollinators, and wildlife. Shade from trees and understory plants will reduce storm drain diversion and heat island temperatures. Over 100 years ago in the US, Fredrick L. Olmstead advocated for green space in our cities to make life livable for all people.
“Feeding the City: improved food supplies:” Food production is no longer the countryside’s prerogative. It is our pleasure, together with our participants and sponsors, to present solutions in experimental agriculture and horticulture, urban agriculture, artificially produced food, nutrition, health, and sustainable agriculture.
“Healthying the City: more conscious living: People want to feel healthy and actively participate in society for as long as possible. Floriade Expo 2022 reveals the search for clean air, water, and soil to help residents feel physically and mentally in top shape.”
“Energising the City: smarter energy supplies: Sustainable energy solutions are indispensable. Particularly as the expanding population’s energy requirements are also increasing. Floriade Expo 2022 will show visitors new inventions for generating, storing, and saving energy.”
Twenty-one participating countries, lower than the forty originally expected this year because of the Pandemic, Politics, and Putin, will showcase how they address these goals. The way to find the best ideas is to share ideas, and horticulture is essential across all borders.
“Floriade 2022 will take place on a piece of land that wasn’t even land at the time of the first Floriade (1960). Almere, home to Floriade 2022, is the most populous city of the Netherlands’ newest province Flevoland. (The Dutch reclaimed this land from the sea.)
The entire 67 acres of display space and buildings will be repurposed for immediate use when Floriade 2022 closes. A new city lifestyle will be activated immediately. The grounds will become a residential neighborhood of Almere called Hortus, a green and virtually car-free urban area. Parts of this unique area will start operating the moment Floriade closes its doors.
Students will walk through the doors of the Aeras Hogeschool building, a part of Stoas University for Applied Sciences, ready to study agricultural and horticultural higher education programs.
Visiting Floriade in 2012 introduced me to Bulgaria’s rose industry, state-of-the-art hydroponics, and grow light systems for indoor food production. Garden displays from Estonia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ceylon, and shared their distinctive culture. A visit to Floriade is an international experience, a world tour of gardens in a day or two. I will write more about what I find at this year’s event when I return.