Jacob and Cees Karsten were the driving force behind the rise of popularity of peonies in the Netherlands. Their nursery has grown through hard work, continual innovation and an enduring ambition. And J & C Karsten shows no signs of stopping; a new generation is ready to join the ranks!
Jacob and Cees focus on delivering large quantities of peonies and are one of our biggest nurseries. They harvest about thirty hectares worth of peonies each year and are planning to expand in the future. At the height of production, they can easily fill eighty carts a day with perfect-shaped peonies, bunched in whatever quantity that’s asked. The shipments are spread out over four weeks a year and their main varieties are Sarah Bernhardt, Dr. Alexander Fleming, Pink Panther, Coral Sunset and Duchesse De Nemours.
Their nursery is located in Zwaagdijk, where peonies are harvested relatively late in the season in comparison to the rest of the Netherlands. Jacob and Cees take advantage of this situation by using excellent cooling facilities. In addition, the peonies they cultivate in greenhouses are planted on expanded clay aggregate. This allows them to be the first ones to ship at beginning of peony season.
The total assortment is incredibly wide, including: Many Happy Returns, Madame Claude Tain,, Sunny Girl, Red Charm, Bowl of Cream, Miss America, Gardenia, White Charm, Pink Hawaiian Coral, Kansas, and Flame. Together, they account for over 4 million stems per year!
Few growers possess the expertise and knowledge like Jacob and Cees, two walking encyclopedias of peony science. Many inventions for faster and more efficient work have come from their hands, such as the first fully automatic bunching line for peonies and the first peonies grown on hydroponic clay pebbles. Not everything was successful, but as Thomas Edison once said, “We haven’t failed. We’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!”
The future is looking bright thanks to an injection of young blood. Son Stef Karsten has inherited his father’s passion for peonies and has become a vital part of the company. His keen eye for detail is a wonderful addition to J & C Karsten.
We are delighted we can rely on Jacob, Cees and Stef for their knowledge, expertise and ingenuity. It’s great that these peony maniacs are part of My Peony Society