Floral Design

The Flower Market

Posted on Mar 3, 2014

flower market and Katie's 007

Adventure Day at the Flower Market

It’s impossible to have a bad day when it starts at the flower market! Imagine rows and rows of gorgeous flowers, greens, and orchids in every color and kind lined up for your perusal.  That is the wholesale flower market experience and I got to go today (lucky me!).


My local wholesale flower market is in Carlsbad (at the north end of San Diego).  This is where wholesale growers and importers sell their cut flowers, greens, and plants to florists and the those in the flower business.  In a large warehouse 20 or more vendors line up buckets and buckets of cut flora for buyers to gather and purchase.  Since flowers are perishable, most florists get fresh flowers three days a week from this type of market.


flower market Katies 6


As I’m sure you can imagine, the place smells heavenly! Roses, tuberose. lilacs and mums, to name a few, perfume the air and make it an olfactory experience like no other.  Literally hundreds of thousands of blooms are all contributing their fragrance in one building.  The temperature is always cool in a wholesale flower warehouse to ensure freshness and longevity of the flowers.  The combination of fragrance and cool temperature always takes me back to my first visit to the LA flower market several years ago…


flower market


I was a freshman in college studying Ornamental Horticulture and one of my required class options was Floral Design.  We had a mandatory field trip to the Los Angeles flower market from school.  I remember I had to get up at 2:00 a.m. to get to school by 3:30 a.m. so we could be at the flower market at 5:30 a.m., half an hour before they opened for a special tour ( and so we could see it before the mad scramble at 6:00).  The first time I saw all those flowers my jaw dropped.  I recognize everyone thinks flowers are pretty, but when you’re a flower person through and through as I am, there’s something magical about a place like the flower market that touches your soul.  I can only compare it to walking into a warehouse of different kinds of money stacked and piled everywhere. I’d found nirvana and wanted to roll in it! It didn’t matter how exhausted I was, I couldn’t stop looking at all those flowers.  Every kind and variety and color imaginable.  How could I leave that place?  It was perfect!  Eventually our instructor made us leave, but I will never forget that day.


flower market and Katie's 001


I flashed back to that day when I walked into the wholesale flower market warehouse today.  Flowers and color and color and flowers were everywhere!  I wanted them all.  My purpose, however was to select options for 20 centerpieces I am making for a friend’s luncheon and to scout flower types and colors for another friend’s daughter’s wedding.  We’ll call that friend Kathy.  She came with me to check out colors and types of flowers for her daughter. Part of the fun of arranging flowers for friends is I get to play with the flowers and they have to pay for them :0) .  That is one of my favorite things EVER!


flower market and Katie's 008


Within a few visits to vendors I knew what I needed for my friend’s luncheon.  Meanwhile, Kathy was having the experience I had in college and was mesmerized by the flowers, fragrance, and color.  I saw the look in her eyes and knew we were not getting out of there empty handed!


flower market and Katie's 011


Originally, it was just a scouting mission, but when she saw all those beautiful flowers she decided to buy a bunch of each type she thought she wanted for the wedding and I agreed to make up samples for her when we got back to my house.  Before long our arms were loaded with several clusters of blossoms and greens classically wrapped in newspaper. In fact, we got so many she decided to buy a bucket from a vendor so we could keep them in water until we got home. We joked that the flowers were only worth a dollar, but the bucket was priceless!

For the wedding Kathy was looking for a cross between glam and vintage. Keeping in mind the wedding colors are blush, silver and white we chose:


flower market and Katie's 019


  • Geraldine roses
  • White and green hydrangeas
  • White kale
  • Green hanging amaranth
  • Dusty miller
  • Pink rice flower

We drove home and set up a small table in the garage.  Kathy timed me to see how long it would take me to make an arrangement.  Twenty minutes later this was the result:


tall  arrangement for Katie


Green amaranth trails down from the arrangement mimicking the tapered vase.


close up for Katie


Isn’t this a magnificent combination?! “Kathy” did a great job choosing a great variety of coordinating colors and textures.  I love the green edged creamy kale (on the right) and the touch of gray from the dusty miller ( lower left) with the blush colored “Geraldine” roses.  The doted pink rice flower finishes it off beautifully!

Happily, both mother and daughter were quite smitten (honestly, I was too!).  All in all, a trip to the flower market, an impromptu flower design opportunity and a day with a dear friend equals a very good day! I hope your day was great too:0).






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