Gerbera Mini Gerbera Mums
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In 1959 Cornelius and Adrian Van Geest bought a one-acre greenhouse operation at 9 Kerman Avenue in Grimsby. This was the start of Van Geest Bros. Limited. They began by growing Azaleas, Ferns and other potted crops. As time went on they also began to grow an assortment of cut flowers. In the mid 1960ís they built their first poly house (the predecessor to the modern poly house). This primitive 10,000 ft2 area was used for Tomato production. By the late 1960ís the brothers were establishing themselves as cut flower specialists with Standard and Mini Carnations, as well as Standard and Spray Mums. In 1970 Adrian left to begin Park Avenue Greenhouses, taking with him the production of Spray Mums. In 1972 the poly houses were taken down and a new range of Paul Boers' classic glasshouses were built; a new home for the ferns. Carnations were taken from the assortment by the mid 1970ís. This made room for more production of Standard Mums. In the early 1980ís ferns were dropped to make room for Standard Mum cuttings and mother stock production. With no more room to grow, Cor began looking at options.

By August 1986, Van Geest Bros. set out on a major expansion with the purchase of Louth Gardens located on Seventh Street Louth in St. Catharines. This 120,000 ft2 operation, now known as "Westdale Greenhouses", was comprised of quality glasshouses that contained 60 percent Spray Mums and 40 percent Standard Mums. This allowed Van Geest Bros. the option to grow a greater number of Standard Mums, with the intention to replace some of the Cut Mums with Standards as the market grew. However, Standard Mums quickly fell out of favour so Van Geest Bros. began looking for alternative crops to grow. This is when we started to grow Alstroemeria in St. Catharines, while Grimsby continued to grow all the Standard Mums. The market for standards continued to fall out and Van Geest Bros. began looking for more options. Snapdragons, Lisianthus, Stocks, Bouvardia and eventually Gerbera were all endeavoured. Gerbera won over Grimsby by 1998 while Alstroemeria and Spray Mums became the main stay at Westdale by 2000. In order to gain in efficiency, Westdale grew to 180,000 ft2 by 2001 and Grimsby underwent a major expansion and barn raising in 2002, doubling their Gerbera growing area to 120,000 ft2 with a little room for something different: Anthuriums.

In 2003 John, Bryan and Rob took over controlling interests in Van Geest Bros. with help from Andrea and Colin. A family run business.

 

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