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Parigo Horticultural

Parigo Horticultural Co Ltd of Spalding, Lincolnshire and Chichester, West Sussex specialises in breeding and propagating Alstroemeria.

Parigo began in December 1938, when John Goemans, whose sons Bob and Frank now run the company, started growing flowers on a small nursery near Spalding. In 1951 a second nursery was purchased and by 1964 the company had six nurseries in the Spalding area. In that year land was bought near Chichester and a new nursery established.

John Goemans was a plant breeder and achieved particular success with Freesias and Alstroemerias. During the 1950s he introducted a whole range of new Freesia varieties wich were taken up by growers, so much so that during the 1970s it was estimated that 75% of the world acreage of Freesias was taken up with varieties raised by him. He was the first in the world to grow Alstroemerias commercially under glass and in 1959 he introduced the first Alstroemeria variety specifically intended for glasshouse growing. By the mid 1960s he had a whole collection and it was some years before anybody else could emulate his success. The Alstroemeria has gone on to become one of the major glasshouse grown cut flower crops in the world today. In the late 1970s it was decided that the company should specialise in Freesias and Alstroemerias. Four of the seven nurseries were sold and the remaining three were modernised.

In 1985 one of the Spalding nurseries was sold and Bob Goemans took charge of the remaining Spalding site, with his brother Frank Goemans managing the Chichester site. By the end of the century it was decided to concentrate on the breeding and propagation of the Alstroemerias for both the cut flower and garden markets. The cut flower units in Spalding were rented out and part of the Chichester nursery was sold with only sufficient glasshouse space being retained to enable the new Alstroemeria varieties to be evaluated. The Freesia breeding stocks were sold to a Dutch company.

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