Agrícola da Ilha - The history of a family of entrepreneurs and their saga
of love for daylilies
In 1987 the daylily was considered in Brazil as a plant that had no value in
landscape architecture. The Hellen species, which is the most common in
the southern region, was planted close to the walls of houses, just to fill in
undervalued spaces, without arousing the interest of flower and gardening
At that time, Dario Bergemann had a career as an accountant of a traditional
textile mill of textiles for beds, bath and tables in Joinville, Santa Catarina, and
he was worried about facing a future that offered no professional prospects.
He discussed his doubts with his family and friends - he wanted to find new
challenges, an undertaking - but he did not know which way to go.
Despite the fear of leaving a stable job, the idea remained in his mind until an
opportunity arose. A friend and neighbor, who was a gardener was about to
retire, and wanted to share his knowledge and portfolio of clients to another
Without any money, but with the support of his wife Neusa and his son, Dario
volunteered to learn the techniques of gardening with his friend, assuming
the small business. The time had come for a change and the beginning of the
Agricultural Island Company's business trajectory.
The start of the undertaking
The Bergemann family armed themselves with courage and determination
to face the first adversities. Amongst other situations, the day to day of the
gardener included cold meals - outdoors, a shock for those accustomed to the
Dario, however, kept the dream alive, and when his forces were put to the test,
turned a disappointment into a great idea.
Agrícola da Ilha was contracted to plant an all yellow daylily garden. Dario
bought the seedlings from the usual supplier and awaited the results. When
they bloomed, he said that in addition to the yellow daylilies there were other
colors, and they had to be replanted.
Receiving different colors of seedlings was a continuous problem for the
company. The daylilies were not produced on a large commercial scale in Brazil
and the supply of pure seedlings was uncertain.
While he redid the customer´s garden and calculated the losses, Dario realized
that the solution was to ensure the quality of the products and services by
producing the seedlings himself. He would focus his efforts on the daylilies,
both the need and the market opportunity - not much competition between the
producers of a plant that had a huge landscape potential and it also offered low
By then (1990) there were only five species of daylilies in Brazil: Hellen, Flore
Plenum, Harriet, Sophia and Amalia. There was no reference literature available
or a glimpse of the diversity of species.
Then a marathon began for the Bergemann family: to understand the
production process, obtain scientific knowledge and establish contact with other
professionals. Critical to the success of this venture was a partnership with the
Instituto Agronômico de Campinas, located in São Paulo, in the person of Dr
Antonio Fernando C. Tombolato, a researcher dedicated to daylilies and other
Meanwhile, Neusa, Dario's wife, received an inheritance of land where the
Agrícola da Ilha was established. In an area of ten hectares fields were created
for growing daylilies and other company products - grass and agapanthus -.
Later the business diversified and the company and went ahead to carry out
Ecosys ornamental pond projects.
This was a landmark decision for genetic improvements
On a trip to the United States, Dario further expanded the business possibilities
for Agrícola da Ilha due to the encouragement he received from North American
producers and American Hemerocallis Society. Due to a true passion for
daylilies he noted that this country inspired him to produce new species and
create a garden to show its use in landscape gardening, and still form a circle of
Latin American collectors.
He brought 120 species to be used as matrices in cross breeding, and the first
to be grown in the Agrícola da Ilha fields was the Barbara species. Since then
the company has continued to invest in genetic improvement and expand the
catalog of Brazilian species.
The result can be seen in more than 60 varieties, ranging from diploid and
tetraploid, with or without borders, ideal for landscaping small gardens, isolated
clumps or large areas. Currently the company sells about 300 thousand
seedlings/year, making it the largest producer in Latin America.
Spreading the beauty of daylilies
To spread the awareness of the species and ensure the consumer market, the
company participates in trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences, considering
increasing its activities and to collaborate with the development of the
In 2002, Agrícola da Ilha inaugurated its own disclosure vehicle, the Brazilian
Daylily Festival, held annually on the property. The event is open to the public
that love nature and landscaping professionals, where one can also visit the
gardens and production fields.
Each edition of the festival presents innovative concepts for landscaping with
daylilies, exposing isolated species or large formations to the delight of all types
of observer, and species allied to other tropical flora. And there is a specific
area for collectors of rare species, especially those from the U.S.
In the 11th Brazilian Daylily Festival, held during the flowering season between
October 2012 and February 2013, Agrícola da Ilha presented the 69th species
that was developed in their fields. The "Boa Vista" is the resulting of cross
breeding between the species Green Spill and Sonic Bloom.
The new species are named after personalities that stand out for their scientific
contribution or the performance in favor of the development of Brazilian
landscape gardening, and other people linked to literature and botany. Family,
Friends and the cities that promote the quality of life through flowers are also
Currently the event receives about 20,000 visitors from all over Brazil and
several countries in the Americas and Europe. This is an important increase
to tourism in Joinville, known as the "City of Flower´s" due to the culture of
residential gardens brought with German immigration in the nineteenth century
and the Flower Festival that has been held for 74 years.
The company remains open all year round for families seeking a place of
recreation close to nature. And even landscaped gardens lovers can enjoy the
gardens at different times.
Present in its initiatives such as the revitalization of parks and attractions, it
is a partner of municipalities, government agencies, educational institutions
and associations. Dario Bergemann, his family and staff contribute to the
environmental education that children receive in public schools, researchers
and students from universities for the development of scientific and educational
All this has the main objective of making more people aware of and fall in love
with the Daylily.
Company Name: Agrícola da Ilha – Comércio de Plantas Ltda.
Address: Rua Tenente Antonio João, 4.257 - Bom Retiro - Joinville (SC) - CEP:
89223-100 - Brazil
Phone: +55 (47) 3473-0628