Marcel emigrated to France in 2002, working at the peony nursery of Jacob Karsten. He took is family, wife Elvira and children Koos, Ties and Cas, with him and during harvest they all helped out in the fields. In 2014 Marcel took over the nursery. The whole family is passionate about peonies. Marcel: “It’s like falling in love. Seeing the peonies grow, smelling the fragrance, is simply fantastic. Come by our nursery sometimes, you’ll understand. Wonderful!”
Marcel Wories grows peonies year round in Chile and France
All year round, Marcel keeps a close eye on his flowers. He walks through his fields daily, checking the light conditions, air and soil quality. “A healthy, nutritious soil is paramount to success”, Marcel says. “By improving the soil we improve our plants, and that lets them produce better flowers. That’s my version of the circle of life: be good to nature and she’ll be good to you.”
Marcel cultivates over 1.5 million peonies, in 17 different varieties. He picked varieties that bloom during different parts of the season, so he can ship fresh peonies year round.
Early varieties, such as Flame and Pink Hawaiian Coral, are ready to go to market in April. Five weeks later the season concludes with Sarah Bernhardt and Dr. Alexander Fleming.
“You’ll find all kinds of cultivars here”, says Marcel. “Sarah Bernhardt, Coral Sunset, Duchesse De Nemours… Some bloom early, some bloom a bit later. We specialize in high quality peonies, with large, thick buds and pure colours.”
Perfect peonies mean you need a steady hand and a keen eye, to know when to cut. Cut too late and the peonies bloom early, cut too raw and the buds may not open at all.‘With most varieties the colour indicates when it’s ready to cut, but sometimes it’s the shape of the bud’, Marcel says. ‘The only way to truly know is by experience.’ He’s lucky enough to have his sons help out, who also keep an eye on consistent quality.
Keeping it fresh
Marcel: ‘What we cut today gets delivered tomorrow. We cool the flowers directly after cutting and transport them using refrigerated trucks. A slight increase in temperature means risking an early bloom so we’re very committed to keeping things extremely fresh.’
As a member of My Peony Society, Marcel has access to fantastic international logistics and services. “Contact with fellow growers, a central administration, and having directs access to the market are just some of the advantages My Peony Society offers me,” says Marcel. The society takes care of the humdrum stuff, so excellent growers such as Marcel are free to focus on their true passion: cultivating spectacular peonies!
Marcel Wories is already looking beyond his nursery in La Provence, and will be taking over a big nursery in Chile. Marcel: ‘Pilauco Peonies is a world-famous nursery, renowned in the US and Canada for their high quality peonies. We’re going to help them expand even further.’
The Chilean peony season is about six months earlier than in France, from mid-October to the end of December. This means Marcel can combine the work in Chile with his nursery in France perfectly, as there’s very little overlap. And thanks to ever better cooling and shipping techniques Wories & co can deliver fresh flowers practically all year round.
We’re looking forward to more peony splendour from our man in Chile!