The Story of Parigo – Part 2

If you missed part one you might want to read that first.

Our story continues in 1964 when the demand for the new super hybrids increases.


Parigo buys land in Sussex to keep up with all the orders and build new glass houses.

The extra light pays off. Two are widespan houses producing over 100,000 blooms each year while the smaller houses are used for propagating and breeding.

By 1978, John and his sons Bob and Frank start focussing on the three most successful crops - alstroemeria, freesia and gladioli.


At this time they see a need to simplify as they were running seven nurseries in total between Sussex and Lincolnshire. They decide to sell four of the nurseries and upgrade the remaining three. Bob manages Spalding and Frank is in charge of Chichester.

Come 1988, Parigo’s production areas total 9 acres - all under glass!


About two thirds of their cut flower production is sold through wholesale market channels countrywide. The rest goes to secondary wholesalers, local florists and a few supermarket customers.

The breeding plants of all three crops are an important part of the business and are sold worldwide.

Believing quality is paramount, Bob Goemans says:

“We really know how to grow the crops we have specialised in and as breeders and growers, we follow all the way through with a top quality product”.

In 1998, the hybrid alstroemeria’s future is looking more and more promising as the worldwide demand for Parigo varieties continues to grow.


This leads to the building of high-tech labs for micropropagation.

By this time South America, Africa, Japan, Holland, France and Germany are all growing the hybrids. However, Parigo has about 25% of the market share supplying alstroemeria plants to cut flower growers in the UK.

The range is extended to 24 with three new varieties – ‘Oriana’, ‘Vanessa’ and ‘Tristar’.

Lead varieties are the deep ruby Bellini’, bright magenta ‘Europa’, ‘Yellow Crown’ and ‘Friendship’. ‘Athena’ claims fourth position out of 20 in Dutch productivity trials while ‘Europa’ and ‘Bellini’ are planted for assessment in the 1998 trials. Parigo also begins working with leading supermarket chains to supply cut flowers.

In 2004 new garden variety alstroemeria are being bred and Parigo starts exhibiting these at flower shows around the country.


The plants get a wonderful reception and continue to be popular garden flowering plants.

In 2019, after nearly 81 years running Parigo as a family business, it came time for Frank and Bob to retire.


However, they didn't want to just dissolve the company or let it go dormant as they still supplied a number of UK cut flower growers and retail plant sellers with Parigo hybrids.

Instead, the brothers wanted their father’s legacy to continue and for Britain to become known again for growing and breeding alstroemeria.

This led to Frank handing his treasured family business over to Alec - handpicking him because of his success in growing peonies and his brand “Primrose Hall Peonies”.

Alec is committed to producing the highest quality alstroemeria plants. He’s passionate about showing the world what fantastic, versatile plants they are and the wonderful assortment available for both the garden and the vase.

The Story of Parigo – Part 1

Whether it be a handsome sum of money, the dining room table or a bad temper, we all inherit something from our parents.

In the case of the founder of Parigo, John Goemans, it was a horticultural heritage that began with his grandfather Petrus. Petrus established “P. Goemans and Sons” bulbgrowers and exporters in Holland in 1860.

It seems that once those plants get in your blood you can’t get them out.

Don’t we know it!

So Petrus’ horticultural legacy continued down the line with his son Adriaan happily bulb growing in Holland.

But how did Parigo begin and get to England, you may ask?

It all began with Adriaan’s son, John, just before World War 2.

Before and During WW2

Parigo began in December 1938, when John Goemans, started growing flowers on a small nursery near Spalding. John originally started growing Spring flowers together with another Dutchman, Mr. van Paridon. This is where the name Parigo came from - a combination of the founder’s names.

World War 2 intervened in the company growth and Mr. van Paridon spent the war years in Holland. After years away from the nursery he decided to withdraw from the company after the war ended, leaving John to run it with his sons Bob and Frank.

The war years were a challenge in many ways. In 1945 John reported that the last four years culture of bulbs had been limited to 25 percent of what he had in culture in 1938.

He had to start growing farm crops like potatoes, sugar beets and wheat but was focusing on freesia seed to trade in after the war. He also started keeping bees as he recognised how vital they are for gaining seeds. And it tasted good too.

Post WW2

After the war, the family began growing freesias, alstroemeria and gladioli along with other bulbous plants.

But John Goemans was not just a grower of plants, he was also a successful plant breeder and by 1951 Parigo’s breeding programme really got going and achieved great success with their freesias.

Alstroemeria were still a work in progress. Although alstroemeria had long been established as a garden plant, John wanted to breed a new hybrid. He wanted long lasting cut flowers with larger blooms in a wide range of colours.

The hybrids were initially produced from crosses between three of the original alstroemeria species. After years of endeavour, in 1959 John produced his first seedling ‘Ballerina’ and two years later, ‘Parigo’s Charm’ and ‘Parigo’s Pride’ came along.

Encouraged by the success of these hybrids, John went on to produce 100 seedlings of varying colours and characteristics. Through continuous selection work on Parigo’s nurseries, a nucleus of about 20 varieties has been vegetatively propagated to produce stocks for commercial cut flower production.

These Super hybrids could be made to produce cut flowers from early March through to late October rather than only July, as with Alstroemeria aurantiaca varieties. They also had straight, single stems with narrow, attractive leaves and could grow to over 180cm in height. The flower head could have as many as 10 branches with each having a spray of 4 or 5 flower buds.

What an achievement!

And what happened next?

Stay tuned for part 2…