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The Farmer Gracy Story


“Founded on passion, supported by innovation,
from the 19th century till today.”

Farmer Gracy is the English face of a famous Dutch bulb-growing family. To outline in detail the generations worth of plant growing and plant breeding achievements starting in 1888 when the Lefeber horticultural dynasty began would be absolutely impossible, but we will try to tell you about just a few of them. After all, it’s this rich heritage that makes Farmer Gracy what it is today.

First it took courage,
then it was all about innovation

J.W. Lefeber was born in 1860, and he had a single ambition. He wanted to grow the most beautiful flowers in the world. It was he who bought the first plot of land and started a bulb business after learning horticulture the best way there is – through getting his hands dirty!

His passion for plants was communicated to his children, and it was one of his sons, J.W.A. Lefeber, who became a plant breeding expert and who would produce a string of hyacinth varieties that are still famous today.

The year was 1922, and the new hybrid that took the world by storm was Hyacinth ‘Pink Pearl’. By 1935 a whole range of ‘Pink Pearl’ variants had been introduced, and two of the Lefeber brothers collaborated to produce Hyacinth ‘Carnegie’ – you’ll still find all these special hybrids among the most popular hyacinth varieties in the world to this day.


Mr. Lefeber receives a Royal Award for his extensive and great work in the flower bulb industry.

Innovation with hyacinths continued, resulting in a string of varieties, but that wasn’t all. Crosses that produced Darwin hybrids and Fosteriana tulips were carried out, and the first split-cupped Narccisus was produced by the Lefebers.

Co-founders of Keukenhof

Those who admire the magnificent gardens at Keukenhof in spring may well wonder how the Mayor of Lisse came upon the splendid idea of using the gracious historical gardens to showcase Dutch growers’ best efforts. Only the most elite growers are able to contribute to the display, and people come to Keukenhof from around the world to admire the spring gardens which contain literally millions of bulbs.


Queen Juliana and Princess Beatrix & Irene visiting Keukenhof Gardens welcomed by Mr. Lefeber.

The mayor’s ‘secret’ is soon out: his deputy mayor was none other than J.W.A. Lefeber, 2nd generation bulb grower and plant breeder par excellence! No wonder the Lefebers have been contributing to this magnificent garden for generations! It’s very founding is one of their proudest achievements.

Enter Farmer Gracy

Over the years, from generation to generation, the Lefebers kept building their reputation as flower bulb growers and breeders. Facilities got bigger, capacity grew, and exports started flowing out to more and more countries around the world. A cousin of the Lefebers, Hans Rotteveel, had meanwhile been building expertise in a skill that hasn’t been around for generations: online marketing.

He knew that if there’s one country (other than Holland) that really appreciates flowers and gardening, it’s the U.K. What if gardeners could shop for flower bulbs direct from the Lefeber farms? Wouldn’t that make the cities, suburbs and country gardens bloom more beautifully than ever?

And so Farmer Gracy was born. Love for horticulture and a love for technology combines in this website, and those who are passionate about flowers can now treat their gardens to the highest quality Dutch bulbs sent straight from the farm in the heart of the Dutch flower-growing district.

 

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