Unprecedented flooding hits German plant nurseries hard

BAD AHRWEILER, Germany: Exceptionally heavy rain and flooding have caused severe damage to plant nurseries in Germany, with the states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the southern state of Bavaria being hardest hit.

Boats and cars are scattered on the landscape like discarded children’s toys. Houses were literally removed from their foundations and reduced to kindling, and glasshouses that looked like an inland tsunami went through them.…the banks of rivers such as Rhine, Mosel, and Wupper may have changed forever, reports Taspo.

Nearly three weeks after slow-moving torrential downpours (up to 200 litres of rain per square metre recorded) were released, two months’ worth of rain in two days over Western Germany. The death toll has risen to at least 182, of which 123 confirmed in the hilly Ahrweiler district in Rhineland-Palatinate. Another 764 people were injured, and 155 people were recorded as missing.

Giving an update of the damages in the region’s horticultural sector this week is Taspo, Germany’s leading horticultural news outlet,

In Gemund-Eifel a brown line around two metres high on the facade of the greenhouses at plant nursery Gartnerei Geschwindt marks where the water reached when grower’s family Geschwind tried in vain to safe computers and other electronic devices by putting them on tables and closets. Eventually, floodwater reached their home’s first floor, forcing the owners to flee to the roof where they spent the night.

In Heimersheim, the plant nursery and house of the grower’s family Wershofen is in ruins. “We have lost our home and possessions,” told Ralf Wershofen Taspo. Fortunately and just in time, our family was able to find shelter in the village’s convent. The floods destroyed company paper, the nursery’s car park, and all electronic devices. But we are lucky to have many volunteers helping up to clean up.”

Also, in Heimersheim wholesale plant nursery Gärtnerei Blumenberg is only 350 meters from the Ahr river. The floodwater reached one metre in their greenhouse, wreaking havoc on all plants. Their main job is cleaning the mud-smeared plants. Plants that were lucky to survive because, after the floodings, the nursery was left one week without tap water.

In Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, floristry company Floristik Lersch run by Mehmet Yilmaz, cannot find words to describe the emotional pain and material loss this catastrophe has caused. Their florist shop was destroyed entirely while their other location, the ‘Alte Gärtnerei Lersch’, remained intact and is now used to prepare sympathy flowers.

Volunteers helped growers to clean, removing mud and debris from their greenhouses and homes and fields.

This story was first published in Taspo, adapted by FCI.
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