One of the questions I get asked time and time again is “where do you buy your flowers from?” To be honest, I don’t source my flowers from just one place. A large and integral part of every event I take on is sourcing the best blooms for the job and that can take a fair bit of groundwork!
During the summer months when we are spoilt for choice here in the UK with the most gorgeous seasonal blooms, I buy as much as I possibly can from local flower farmers. The rest of the time it’s a combination of New Covent Garden Flower Market and an amazing wholesaler, both of whom champion seasonal British flowers as and when available.
“That’s all very well for you” I hear you say, “you’re a floral designer - but what about me?”
If you don’t have an amazing local retail florist nearby here are some of my favourite alternative options:
Columbia Road Flower Market, London - every Sunday 8am to 3pm
This has to be the best street market in London, flower or otherwise! Close to Brick Lane and Spitalfields, the flower market is a vibrant, bustling & intoxicating place to visit. The selection of colourful, fragrant flowers, plants & seeds available is mind blowing and all at incredibly reasonable prices. The surrounding artisan cafes, independent shops, galleries and street musicians all add to the holiday atmosphere. Go prepared to barter with the stall holders, enjoy the lively banter and remember “cash is king”. Worth noting that there’s only one cash point nearby and it gets VERY busy.
Local growers, all over the UK!
During peak growing season (May to September) I can’t recommend and encourage supporting British flowers and the growing number of passionate people behind them enough.
Flowers from the Farm is a multi-award winning, not-for-profit co-operative of British cut flower growers. According to their website “90% of the flowers sold through UK florists & supermarkets are imported not just from Holland but flown from as far afield as Ecuador, Columbia, Kenya and even Ethiopia”.
Whether you’re looking for a postal bouquet, farm gate flowers, DIY flowers by the bucket or a florist near you using British blooms this brilliant website helps you find beautifully seasonal local flowers by area.
Grow your own?
Ok, I totally get that’s not feasible for many of us town dwellers with little or no outside space but if you have room outside for even just a few containers you could have flowers to bring in throughout the year with a bit of planning. Failing that, if you love having flowers in the house why not consider a small allotment? A half plot gives a decent sized cutting patch and the sense of achievement from nurturing a seed through to full bloom is indescribable. It also gives you the freedom to experiment with varieties not so readily available. For tips, inspiration overload (basically we’re talking full on flower porn here) and seed varieties that will blow your flower loving socks off check out Washington based flower farmer Erin Benzakein, Floret flowers.
Think outside the box
Put a shout out on a local community website such as Next-door for anyone about to prune/cut back their garden. You’d be surprised what you might come across and an armful of foliage in a giant vase looks incredible. I’ve even been known to knock on a door to ask if I can cut and buy a few stems of gigantic hydrangea heads or to die for lilac. Park gardeners can be your best friends and a few stems of that hawthorn or butterfly bush growing prolifically at the side of the road would look gorgeous on the kitchen table. Please be mindful of leaving plenty for the bees and others to enjoy. If you’re planning a foraging spree, please check local regulations first.