Covent Garden Flower Market...

Back in April, I was lucky enough to travel over to Hampshire to spend a week with the wonderfully lovely, and talented, Jay Archer, at her Jay Archer Flower School. Jay had spent a week with me back in February focussing on botanical illustration, so I was already looking forward to catching up and filling a week full of laughing until your belly ached and your face couldn't take any more... oh, and four days of one to one tuition, picking her creatively genius brain and working with the most gorgeous blooms, of course!

One of the things I was most excited about exploring when I was over was the access to amazing, and world renowned, Covent Garden Flower Market.

Although Jay had warned me it was 'totes amaze' and overwhelming, nothing had really prepared me for how incredible it was to see whole birch trees, enormous branches laden with cherry blossom, magnolia, the FRESHEST flowers I had ever seen and the biggest variety... things you just struggle to get here. Everywhere. It was, beyond incredible.

I have to admit, I was really emotional, and had welled up at stand one - which was just greenery and branches!! I struggle not to cry every time I think about it, it was just a beautiful experience for me, and one that I'll treasure... much like my trip to the NY flower market last year.

All the traders were just amazing, too - chatting to us, giving us a cuppa upon arrival, and couldn't have been more helpful. There's no cold shoulder, everyone is really helpful and want to know who you are, and how they can help you. Really great banter, which makes the 4am start completely worth it... there's something so magical about being up when no-one else is, chasing the sunrise and driving back with a car-full of the MOST AMAZING loot that feels like you've won the lottery. 

Huge thanks to Miss Archer for sharing this with me. XO

NYC Flower Market...

Last year, hubs and I were lucky enough to spend two weeks in New York. It was our first trip to the city for both of us - and we were staying over in Brooklyn, in an awesome air bnb brownstone apartment. It was as amazing, inspiring and as electrically creative and unique as we expected it to be - even more laid back, and much more than the sum of it's parts. We would pretty much move there in a hipster heartbeat given the opportunity!

I was super inspired by all the beautiful flower shops I stumbled across, and one of my 'must do' things before arriving was to have an early morning start and visit the NYC Flower Market itself. And boy, was I glad I did...

Rather than being one big under-cover market, the NYC Flower Market is actually one long street, with lots of different shops and traders - selling their flowers wholesale, to trade customers (Florists & Stylists). Each specialising in their own thing, and of course, with some cross-over too. Some of the shops are trade only, whereas some will sell to the public, but they were all happy for us to come in and browse and they all let me shoot some photos when I asked permission, which I am happy to share with you today!

Before I went, I had watched and re-watched this fab video from Amy Merrick (who, just in case you don't know, is a floral genius and one of the pioneers of todays modern floristry style that focusses on simple natural form) for design*sponge, which I had bookmarked three years ago.

I think you'll enjoy it too and it will show you the market in more depth...

Although we were there in the depths of winter (the worst NY snowfall in 120 years!) and there wasn't the same variety of blooms as you might find in warmer seasons, it was still a wonderful experience for me and I loved over-hearing the NY florists designing their weeks curation based on what was fresh, beautiful and inspiring... it was really inspiring to see how creative, in depth and considered that purchasing was - it's not just grabbing some wraps of chrysanthemums or lilies (because that's what people want), it was really discussing how they could offer something different, challenging and unique for their clients - and their customers were obviously interested in something new, fleeting and truly seasonal and expected to see something different in store week to week. We found the design market in general in NYC much more open to something more considered, handmade, and in turn, more expensive... Really inspiring and encouraging!

Although it was Winter, so there was a lot of early spring flowers (narcissus, anemone, ranunculus, hellebore, tulip etc), what I was especially excited to see was the variety of flowering branches, foliage and structural plants that we just don't have access to here - fiddle leaf fig trees, which are SO hard to get in the UK - fruited branches, vine plants such as unusual trailing jasmines and clematis, and my big US discovery - Tweedia - so beautiful, in blue and white. So, from a creative point of view, these materials allow floral designers so much option, and it was really great for me to see this produce in person and get lots of ideas. Best - Day - EVER, essentially.

It's pretty rainy here in Belfast today, so this is making me want to hop on a plane pretty badly! Who's with me? XO