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Limburg landscaper decks Pope’s Easter stage in flowers

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ROERMOND – Limburg landscaper Paul Dekkers literally decks the Vatican with flowers each Easter. Dekkers received the contract for the first time in 1985 when the late Dutch priest and professor Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite who was martyred by the Nazis in Dachau in 1942, was beautified. Since 1988, Dekkers has decorated and landscaped the papal stage for the globally televised Easter services. Although the arrangements differ from year to year, the scale is always huge, and involves 30 tons of plants and materials for Easter 2008. A logistical challenge, preparations in the Netherlands take months to complete but the display in Rome needs to be done in a few days. Sponsored by the Bloembureau Holland, the plant material is all brought in from the Netherlands where the flowering bulbs are kept in a controlled environment to ensure they blossom at the required moment. Dekkers feels privileged to handle the arrangements, especially when the Pope acknowledges the floral array with a Thank You in Dutch.