As 2020 is coming to an end, we will remember it as a year of extremes. While our core markets (Flowers and Tourism) where heavily affected by the pandemic, we were fortunate to continue to work on key-projects and clients and managed to implement the world’s largest off-season tulip show in Shanghai last October, against all seasons and odds. A small project with a big impact was the Return of The Istanbul Tulip, last May. The operations in the Dafeng Holland Flower Park, recommenced already in March and has seen great visitation numbers since then.
Also exciting new projects in the USA, China and Italy came through, where we are working on at the moment. We look forward sharing the results with you coming Spring.
In between we completed a number of feasibility studies and masterplans for clients related to garden and flower tourism and retail, and celebrated the 5th working anniversary of our colleague Zao Ye, who also made a great contribution to the International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge.
We were glad to connect with our audiences and share our passion for flowers, gardens and tourism in different conferences and media.
We certainly miss meeting you less frequent in person, this year, but thanks to our local colleague Yi Yin and a wide range of video conference tools we managed to stay close from a distance.
We would like to thank our clients and partners for the pleasant and continued cooperation and we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy new year!
During the October National Holiday Season, Oriental International Shanghai Floriculture Industry Development ltd (‘OISF’), launched the world’s largest off-season tulip festival in Miao Village on Chongming Island, Shanghai. Close to 1.8 million tulips were forced exactly into bloom for China’s most important holiday season, which lasts from 1 to 8 October.
Preparations for this big event already started last year, with the production and sourcing planning from different partners and suppliers in China, Netherlands and New Zealand. “We had to find solutions against all seasons and odds” says Ms Coco Yang, general manager of OISF. In the climate in Shanghai, with its hot and humid summers, it is impossible to plant tulip bulbs in the open landscape. The bulbs need a cool dormancy period of 3 to 4 months to develop a strong root bases and high-quality flowers. With the support of local and overseas partners we managed to import 1.8 million tulip bulbs from New Zealand and plant them on pots in June and store them in cooling rooms until mid-September. During 10 days about 50 trucks arrived at Chongming Island with the pre-rooted tulips from different locations across China. There over 400 workers planted the tulips into the landscape of the beautiful Zhongzhong Forest in Miao Town.
IGMPR has been supporting OISF in this project from the very beginning in the planning, sourcing, quality control and project management. ‘The use of pre-rooted tulips, allows tulip gardens and festivals to exactly time the blossom moment and extend the operation period. This is the first time ever, it has been done on such a massive scale, and we were honored and proud to work on this project since last year, says project lead Ibo Gülsen. Despite the world-wide pandemic and challenges in supply chains and travel restrictions, we managed to stay on track and achieve a magnificent result, thanks to OISF and all partners that were involved.”
Although visitation is capped at 1.000 visitors at any moment in the park due to COVID-19 regulations, over 5.000 visitors visit the show on a daily basis, with peaks of even 10.000. The show is also a warm-up for the coming 10th edition of the China Flower Expo which will be held on Chongming Island from May 21- July 2 in 2021.
For this accomplishment the chairman of the World Tulip Society, Mr Michel Gauthier, presented via a video message the award for the ‘World’s Largest Off Season Tulip Show’: “This project has proven again that the tulip is truly an international flower that can bring pleasure and joy to people at any time and place in the world”.
The latest edition of FloraCulture International, the magazine for the international ornamental horticulture industry, contains an interview with Mr Ibo Gülsen about his experience in Asia and his latest project in Myanmar.
Both Pieter Teisman and Ibo Gülsen visited the beautiful country of Myanmar on a regular basis in 2019 to prepare for the flower festival in the National Kandawgyi Gardens in Pyin Oo Lwin. “We were so astonished by the rich flower culture that Myanmar has in its daily life and arts, so we decided to dedicate the theme of the festival to the ‘Culture of Flowers’. The festival was held from December through January and attracted over 500.000 visitors in just 30 days.
Our colleague Zao Ye, participated in the 2019/2020 edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse International Challenge. Zao has successfully led the AiCU team, consisting of young professionals and researchers from different organizations and industries, into the finals and ranked 2nd out of 21 entries.
The goal of the challenge is to grow over a 6-month period remotely controlled cherry tomato crops, supported by measured values of greenhouse climate and crop development. Teams will be able to extract necessary data from the greenhouse through sensors, cameras and measured values of crop development and climate and couple it to their own ICT/models/machine learning algorithms in order to decide on the control settings for the next day/period. They will send the control settings back to the system (the greenhouse climate computer) in order to steer the actuators automatically or send instructions for crop handling in order to reach the goal.
Final results are evaluated on the following criteria: 50% net profit (income minus all cost, including material, labor and energy etc.), 20% sustainability (energy using efficiency) and 30% AI strategy.
The main experience from the previous 2018 challenge is the importance of plant feedback. To further improve the results of last year’s challenge, the team added plant weight sensors, sap flow and stem diameter sensors, which can provide real-time feedback on plant growth.
Practical AI algorithms require a large amount of historical data. However, conventional agriculture does not have such data with a unified structure and storage method. So apart from the sensors, the team also developed the AiCU MissionControl software, which can integrate sensor data from different manufacturers and different interfaces. This software is a platform with centralized visualization and algorithm development.
Zao Ye:” We think the autonomous greenhouse concept will not only serve areas that are already familiar with high tech horticulture. Our approach can help growers in any place of the world, to improve yield and quality with less energy consumption. Furthermore, experts don’t need to be physically on site, which makes the exchange of know-how and experience much more efficient. This challenge has been a great experience and we look forward to participate in the next edition.
In cooperation with the World Tulip Society, the Consulate of the Netherlands in Istanbul, and many others, we returned the original Istanbul tulip to its birthplace.
On May 6 Consul General Bart van Bolhuis presented the tulip to mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who greatly appreciated the gift. The typical Istanbul tulip with its almond shape and pointy daggers, was cultivated in the 17th-18th century in the Ottoman gardens, and were described extensively in the Tulip Album of 1725. The earliest documented record in Europe of this tulip was in 1811, where the tulip arrived from the Orient and were planted in the royal gardens in Paris. Soon after it appeared in other places in Europe and was registered as tulipa cornuata and later acuminata. The acuminata is still grown on a very small scale by a specialised grower in the Netherlands, and its history was only known within a small community of garden and tulip connaisseurs. The event gained national attention in the media across Turkey.
Mr. Ibo Gülsen of IGMPR lead the project and worked closely with tulip specialists in Europe and Turkey to unravel the history of the Istanbul Tulip. Beautiful pictures of the tulip in the royal gardens were made with the support of Paleis Het Loo.
The Keukenhof had to remain closed this season, but fortunately people can virtually enjoy the ‘Flower Hill’ with bulbs provided by Jansen’s Overseas. The flower hill which is situated at the main entrance of Keukenhof is one of the most photographed spots in the park by visitors. Over 43.000 tulips and 20.000 crocus are planted on this hill, providing 8 weeks of full blossom. (photo credit Albert Dros)
For the first time in 5 years IGMPR was not able to join the opening of the Tulip Festival in Dafeng Holland Flower Park, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Nevertheless we were glad our support in the preparations paid off with blooming tulips and activities. A special congratulatory speech was given by the Dutch Ambassador Wim Geerts and South-Holland’s Deputy vice-governor Adri Bom-Lemstra by video.
A report on the festival and the impact of COVID-19 on operations in the Dafeng Holland Flower Park was recently published by Flora Culture International.
On March 2, Mr. Ibo Gülsen joined the Spring Meeting of AIPH in Miami to present on the benefits and lessons learned of Garden Tourism for horticultural expo’s. In his presentation he highlighted the history of gardens, the economic impact of the garden tourism industry, which attracts 100’s millions of visitors each year and the potential synergies between one-off expo’s and garden destinations as permanent visitor attractions.
The full programme of the conference can be viewed here and Mr. Gülsen’s presentation is available upon request