A Covent Garden Experience: Part One.

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.

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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…


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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.


16 Responses to A Covent Garden Experience: Part One.

  1. Manneskjur says:

    I cannot wait to see how you got on – all those beautiful flowers, I think I’d probably burst!
    Manneskjur recently posted…Making a Bow & ArrowMy Profile

  2. I was just about to ask what camera you used…a new DSLR? Have you figured out all the settings yet or are you just using the “auto” button? I’d love to learn how to use a camera properly, but it’s just one more thing for the list…!

  3. Such beautiful flowers-what a choice! I have absolutely no idea how to arrange flowers-look forward to seeing how you got on.
    Iona@redpeffer recently posted…Daisy-a portrait in flower photographyMy Profile

  4. Beautiful flowers.
    Honey Mercer recently posted…Colour in the gardenMy Profile

  5. Claudia says:

    flowers are so amazing…. i could take pictures of them all day
    Claudia recently posted…a garden update. platanillo, costa rica. part twoMy Profile

  6. I would love this so much, what a treat to be around all those flowers. Looking forward to seeing the hand tied bouquet.
    sam@happyhomebird recently posted…Allotment PartyMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      It was such a treat. I’m busily drafting the post for next week! I’d love you to come back and see the photos 🙂

  7. Ahh, looks like such a good day. Surrounded by beautiful flowers all day – yes please!
    Emma Greenwood recently posted…explosionMy Profile

  8. What beautiful flowers, I bet the scent there was amazing! #HDYGG?
    Kate Thompson recently posted…How Does Your Garden Grow?My Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      it was! Although most of the roses were scentless, sadly. The sweet peas and and the overall smell of plant life was lovely.

  9. The city where I am from in my country is so modern that the only plants you will see are a small square in front of a building. Everything is gray, concrete, glass, billboards, pollution. But there is this one place where you can find flowers! Every morning flowers will arrive in big bulk from a more colder part. Wesometimes pass by that area and the smell and the colors that you will see even at night is a great welcome from all the grayness. Your post reminded me of that place. An oasis in a concrete city. #hdygg
    Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) recently posted…Terrace FunMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      It really was a special place. I think that having access to nature and plants is a really important thing for people, especially those who live in cities!

  10. Oooh, gorgeous. I did a one day wedding hand tied course with Judith Blacklock a few years ago and learned SO much in the day that has stayed with me. I’m a lot better at arranging flowers with a bit of extra foliage to make them stretch now, and very rarely (okay, it does still happen once in a while…) do I cut the ends off and just plonk them in a vase.
    Rachael Lucas recently posted…bits and piecesMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think that’s it – there were loads of tips that I’ll keep, even if I never make another bouquet, just for flowers that I cut from the garden. It’s also made me really want to put effort into what was supposed to be a cutting patch on my allotment!

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