Last weekend, I finally managed to give up my Saturday lie-in (I’m usually at my desk by 6.30am during the week) for a wander to the New Covent Garden Flower Market in Vauxhall. I used to visit quite a lot a few years ago, travelling across London from Islington at the crack of dawn; it really baffles me why I can’t seem to make the effort nowadays, given that I live locally…
In case you haven’t heard of the market, it is a wholesale market that caters to the floristry industry. Wedding planners and most of the city’s florists get their supplies from the market, and because it’s also open to the general public, people like me also tend to find their way there, either to shop or just to look at the vast selection of flowers/plants. Beside the flower market is a fruit and vegetable market (I’ve never been) which is similar. The market is open from 4am to 10am, Mon to Sat. However, given that it is a wholesale market, most of the trade is complete by 4am… Anything after tends to be considered late! Don’t let the early hours put you off though – there are still plenty of stalls open at 8 or 9am on a Saturday.
Whilst you do get better value for money buying your flowers at the Flower Market, the downside is that you do have to buy them in larger than average sizes, so be prepared – they can get quite heavy! For £10, I got a massive bouquet of tulips, about 6 large bunches in total (I filled quite a few vases and jars!), which I thought was great. You can also bargain if you fancy it – I didn’t as I wasn’t buying that much. Also, it might help to have an idea of the arrangements you are making beforehand, especially if you are like me and love flowers generally and have very little self-control. Once, I left the market laden with enough blooms for a mini wedding (I exaggerate, but you get the picture) – it ended up costing more than I would have wanted and I had to make up so many bouquets/vases.
The tulips I purchased were the most beautiful tulips I have ever had. They were so blousy and bright, with crinkly petals that looked so different to the usual ones (they reminded me of peonies). They were also very easy to style and dot around the flat to inject some colour into the space.
I really do love flowers and don’t have them around the house as much as I would like to. Of course, one doesn’t have to go to the flower market just for some fresh flowers – there’s always your nearest supermarket or florist. If you like learning about different plants and discovering new blooms, the Flower Market is the place to visit – naturally, the colour scheme and scent of the place evolves season to season, which is great.
New Covent Garden Market, London, SW8 5BH | http://www.newcoventgardenmarket.com
Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 4am to 10am
Nearest Station: Vauxhall Tube Station/Vauxhall mainline (South-west Trains)
Images: Courage & Dash