BUYING FLOWERS AT NEW COVENT GARDEN MARKET

A while back (a few years, even!), I styled a feature for 91 Magazine and headed to New Covent Garden flower market with Michelle to stock up on fresh blooms. I was so intimidated to go as I didn’t know what to expect, like if the traders would mind us browsing without buying large quantities, and I couldn’t find much information on first-hand experiences online. Even though I posted this on my old blog ages ago, I still get comments on it so I thought I’d repost it here.


1. Where is it? Don’t get mixed up with Covent Garden market, because it’s not there! Get the Victoria Line or Southwest Trains into Vauxhall, and it is a sign-posted 5 minute walk just beyond the bus station. People with armfuls of flowers are also a dead giveaway.  
2. What time should I go? The market is open from 3-11am on weekdays; we got there at around 8:30am and everyone was pretty much packing up. Apart from a good selection of potted plants, there were only 3 or 4 traders still there (most probably waiting for all the public punters to make some last minute cash). If you are after variety, and especially if you want specific things, I would advise going earlier. However, as it was so empty it made it easier to ask questions and prices without getting in anyone’s way.
3. Do you have to be a florist or a trader? No! The traders didn’t seem to mind that we didn’t really know what we were doing and as it was so empty they were fairly happy to explain things for us. I would have felt very intimidated if it had been peak time and the shoppers and traders were all vying for each other’s attention. Just be firm and know what you want. 


4. Do you have to buy in bulk? The florists deal in bunches and ‘wraps’, which are generously sized and modestly priced. In hindsight, for the small amount of flowers we needed, we really didn’t need to go there. We bought a large bunch of viburnum (£5), a lovely bouquet of roses (£5), a small posy of mystery flowers (at £5 they were a mistake) and a huge wrap containing 5 bunches of small, white flowers that seem to be part of the daffodil or hyacinth family (£15). A large tray of beautiful pansies also came in at £3. It was great value for the amount of flowers we had, and could have easily made about 8-10 pretty bouquets for a total of £30, but it was far more than we needed and, in hindsight, it might have been cheaper to get the select few flowers we needed at a florist. After the shoot, I didn’t even have enough space or containers for this many flowers, but I gave them away to an elderly neighbour in need of cheering up and I think she was very grateful.
Final tip: The vendors add VAT on top of the prices - so when they tell you a bunch of flowers is a tenner, expect to pay £12.



If you aren’t shopping for an event or buying large quantities and looking to make a saving, I’d recommend going to a smaller venue like the Columbia Road flower market on Sundays: it makes for a nice day out and you will probably spend less (for fewer flowers). 


2 comments:

  1. Yikes you are making me feel old! Was still a fun day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've yet to buy fresh flowers, (ever! I know!) and this only makes me want to even more.

    ReplyDelete

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