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07/06/2022 - 14:07
He tells us a little more about his company, work and why he uses TerraCottem.
Geoffrey Lemmens, manager of the company Gesnoeid BV in Belgium, is the right partner for the design, construction, maintenance and renovation of your garden. Through years of experience and extensive knowledge of plants and trees he provides his customers with expert advice. At Gesnoeid you can count on a personal approach and professional advice in the region of Limburg.
Why did you become a landscaper?
As a child, I really loved nature and knew at an early age that I wanted to go to a horticulture school. I read books about plants and birds, so my knowledge of plants is very extensive. After primary school, I did my training at the PIBO in Tongeren, and from there I started working in horticulture.
Do you work alone?
No, our team consists of four people. In addition, after work my wife helps with the bookkeeping, scheduling and customer service, an important department! I could take on more projects but then I would have to recruit extra staff and that is not easy these days. Our customers are used to top service and I want to guarantee this, moreover, I often feel I am too busy to train new employees or apprentices. I know my team through and through and we are all facing the same direction. Satisfying our customers is top priority. If we were to grow further, I would have to free up more time for the commercial part. As I like working on my projects, I prefer to keep it small-scale. I want to be there for my clients and follow them from A to Z. I am often afraid that I will not succeed if we continue to grow, but you never know what the future holds.
How do you find new customers?
In the first place by word of mouth. Since a few months we are also active on Instagram and Facebook. My wife does our social media. Thanks to sharing photos of our projects online, we have gained new customers this year. In the past we didn't have much time for this, but now that Nick has joined our team, we do a better follow up of our projects and also fully maintain gardens after construction, which gives us extra satisfaction. That way we see the gardens evolve into what we had envisioned them to be at the start of the project.
How did you hear about our soil improver?
I have been self-employed for 8 years and use TerraCottem for almost all of my garden projects unless there is sprinkler system. I got to know your product thanks to Willy Reynders Garden Architecture.
Willy started some thirty years ago as an independent garden architect. Today, the company has its own team of architects, landscaping department and nursery.
I worked there for a few years. Willy has a passion for garden architecture and is knowledgeable. It was an instructive experience. We often had projects in France and Spain, hence the frequent use of TerraCottem. This is something I have taken with me into my own projects.
Where do you buy TerraCottem?
TerraCottem at Disaghor-Dockx in Munsterbilzen. My contact person, Jo Deville, is always ready with professional advice. He really knows his products! A competent company that I have been working with for a long time. My material is often delivered directly to the building site
I am also a customer of Intergrow. They take care of my soil analysis and help me especially with pest and disease control.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your work?
When I return to a site and can admire a beautiful, fully-grown garden. (Photo project??)
How do you keep up to date with innovations?
I am in close contact with the growers. They keep me informed about all the new varieties. I have a large garden and often try things out. I plant new varieties and see how they flower/grow. In Lummen we have a sandy soil, so not the easiest of soils.
Due to climate change, growers have also had to adapt their offerings. Certain popular varieties are having a harder time now. Others are thriving better. It is very important to be in tune with this and, above all, to be able to convince customers to use the right varieties.
Are you free to choose the plant species for projects?
Yes, unless a garden architect has previously drawn a plan stating the plants to be used. This does not happen very often. Usually, we design ourselves and choose the different species of trees and plants. The clients often give us carte blanche as in this recent project.
Which project are you most proud of?
That's a very difficult one.... I'm proud of many projects, but if I have to pick just one, I'll go for my design and the realisation around the Equitom horse clinic in Lummen.
For this special garden around the clinic and old farm, we were given complete freedom regarding the use of plants as long as we respected the French style. There were some limiting factors such as water shortage and poor soil. The buildings are on a slope, which sometimes result in very dry areas at the top and waterlogging at the bottom. The soil that had been manipulated by the building contractors was not of the best quality. This project was awarded the "Garden Contractor of the Year" award for "Young Talent".
Do you give a guarantee to your customers?
It is important that the clients follow our recommendations, such as watering on time. TerraCottem helps with plant growth and saving water, but it's not a panacea. You still need to water the garden, especially during the first year after planting.
Sometimes we have to replace a few shrubs or trees. At the moment, one of our clients is away for 7 weeks. So, we water his new garden every week.
We always keep a close eye on our projects. If plants or trees fall out due to illness, we will certainly mediate with the growers for a solution. But we cannot really give a guarantee against plant death due to drought, this is something that is in the hands of the clients themselves. We always try to give them the right advice and keep an eye on the plants the first year.