It is fair to say that I’m not a natural florist, yet on Saturday with lots of guidance and help from the incredible team at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, I was able to produce a stunning hand-tied bouquet during a day long ‘Covent Garden Experience‘ course in London. Be warned, there is going to be lots of gushing, because the combination of learning something new and spending time amidst such beautiful flowers and lovely people really was an absolute joy for me.
I’ve decided to split my day into two posts, because there is SO much I want to share. So be sure to come back next Tuesday for part two!
Our day started bright and early at New Covent Garden Flower Market—the largest wholesale market of fruit, vegetables and flowers in Europe— which is absolute heaven for anyone with an interest in flowers. Academy founders and mother-and-daughter team Gillian and Fleur Wheeler guided our group around the market, stopping to chat with some of their favourite suppliers and teaching us more about the flower industry. As you know, I’m really interested in supporting British growers, but I do feel now that I have a much better understanding of how the international flower markets work and I noted that the market was also a big supporter of British Flowers Week earlier in June. Gillian and Fleur are excellent, gently-spoken guides, with so much combined experience and it was a real privilege to spent time with them at the market.
And of course, there was lots of time for gazing at the incredible rainbow-hued array of flowers for sale. I was especially taken with my favourite sweet peas and dahlias, but there was so much variety —especially in the roses which ranged from the most delicate blush pinks right through to bold oranges, and even artificially enhanced blue ones! Alongside the flowers, the market has containers and vases in pretty much every shape and style you could dream up, together with ribbons, accessories and masses of the all-important foliage.
After getting past the enormity of all of this floral abundance, I started noticing the variety of different individual colours, textures and shapes of the flowers available…
Amazing, right? And my new-DSLR camera skills don’t do them anywhere near enough justice, you need to visit! New Covent Garden Flower Market can be found in SW8, close to Vauxhall station. The market is open to the general public, as long as you are prepared to get up early for the 4am – 10am opening hours and it is to my great sadness, but my bank balance’s relief that it is not on my doorstep.
After our time at the Flower Market our group headed back to the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers to begin our hand-tied bouquet tuition. And that’s a story for next week…
Huge thanks to the Covent Garden Flower Academy for my place on this course. All accommodation and travel paid for separately.