Millions of tulips all but gone

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012
 John van Eeden with the last of the tulips on his plantation outside Invercargill.
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
PRETTY PINK: John van Eeden with the last of the tulips on his plantation outside Invercargill.

Relevant offers

Farming

Lake Sumner the key to ending drought in McCaskey's pipe dream How a dairy factory at the end of the Earth is trying to rule the world Bidding hots up for huge Australian Kidman farm as Gina Rinehart steps in Manaia farmer slapped with $50,000 fine for effluent breach New dam ensures water supply for Starborough Farming Company, Marlborough Sheep milk a growing option for land use ECan whitebait 'mistake' goes to High Court Rod Oram: Herding sheep milk's potential The Great Kiwi Bee Count: 'We need to look after bees' Inglewood farmer who diverted stream through his property fined $60,000

The stunning belts of brightly coloured tulips seen in Southland over the past few weeks will soon be gone for another year.

John van Eeden said his family farms planned to complete their deheading yesterday, which meant saying goodbye to the purple, pink and red belts at their Bridge Rd property outside Invercargill.

The van Eedens employ dozens of Southland schoolchildren each year to dehead the flowers ready for export.

For many, it is their first job, albeit one which only lasts for a few weeks.

Yesterday was the last evening of the season.

"We had a record last night - 43 kids were here," Mr van Eeden said. "There will be 30-odd here tonight."

He said today's young workers were better than any he had seen before.

"I find the kids are better now than they were 10 years ago, in all honesty. They work much harder."

He believed this was because children wanted iPhones and other gadgets which their parents were only willing to buy if they made a contribution themselves.

Mr van Eeden's father bought the tulip business to Southland from his native Netherlands. The family has at least five generations of tulip farming behind it and owns 23 hectares of Southland land, amounting to millions of flowers.

About two thirds of Southland tulips are deheaded and exported as bulbs with stalks to the United States and Netherlands to produce flowers during the northern winter, Mr van Eeden said.

Ad Feedback

- The Southland Times

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Is it time for authorities to introduce tougher penalties for poaching?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: Booby traps for poachers cost farmers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Agri e-editions

Digital editions

Read our rural publications online