The trek to Essen, Germany in late January is tough on a number of fronts.
Leaving the kind of summer that has people comparing it to the summers of their childhoods, for a moderately cold German winter is tough.
The 25 hours flying never gets any easier, it's tough.
But the people you get to spend time with and the pure buzz and excitement of horticultural possibilities makes the tough bits disappear.
However, it's sure nice to be home.
This year after the four day Essen show I got to spend a lovely few days hanging out with my daughter and her partner in Berlin where they live.
Check out Jemmawoolmore.com to see the business that my daughter has created from her Berlin base. Yes, I am a very proud Dad.
From Berlin to Billund in Denmark (colder then Berlin) and visits to our licensed growers of Lavender 'Thumbelina Leigh'.
Perhaps it's no coincidence that this lavender has done so well for a Danish grower when Thumbelina is a literary fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson.
The Danish have succeeded in creating market space in the very competitive market place that is Europe.
Miniaturising plants in tiny pots has been a Danish specialty for many years, but it is the pure quality of the plant offering that makes a trip to Denmark so noteworthy.
As a country they are well placed to sell to their colder Scandinavian neighbours and also into the sought after market of Germany with whom they share a border, as do the Dutch on the other side of Germany.
Despite the cold, Denmark is also the home of Graff Kristensen A/S one of the world's leading breeders of Hibiscus (google Graff.dk).
A third generation family business they really are a remarkable company led by their innovative plant breeding (check out the NZ hibiscus we have available this month).
Denmark of course is where co-founder of Kiwiflora, Morten Damsted was born, and is now buried.
So a special opportunity to visit his parents, brother and sister for the first time, and also Morten's final resting place.