A Flower Market with Attitude

One of our flower girls and today’s guest blogger, Dawson Cooper recently made the leap across the pond and writes about her first experience at a bustling London street flower market.

A flower-lover’s dream, rumors of buying two dozen roses for £5 brought me into East London, home of Columbia Road Flower Market. “3 bunches for £5. Cheap enough to put on your mother-in-law’s grave.”  Turning to my left and trying to hide my shock and cover my son’s ears, I realize Columbia Road Flower Market is not your typical flower market.  My idea of a quiet idyllic road filled with color and scent is quickly interrupted when the gruff man, or shall I say “bloke,” (who must not think much of his mother-in-law) begins talking about pretty women in a less than chivalrous manner.  Again, earmuff it please, my dear.  Dorothy, we are not at our local nursery anymore.

Pops of every color imaginable accent every shade of green conceivable, transforming an otherwise grey London street into something magical, if a little rough around the edges. Deciding to take on the ways of the market (minus the trashy talking), we hunt for the best bargain and then try to lower the price.  When I attempt to bargain on potted rosemary and instead end up with a rejected offer and a sarcastic remark, I think I may not be tough enough for this flower market.  However, with an abundance of bulbs, hanging plants, shrubs, cut flowers and more surrounding you, it is hard not to find a good price– you may just have to walk a couple stalls down. For instance, orchids sold by hilarious traders – claiming their wares were so cheap they were being stolen – help to lure passerby to their stalls. From stems of cotton, to red ilex berry, to your typical Gerber Daisies, roses, and carnations—this market has it all, and is bound to send any flower-lover’s head whirling.

And yes, I did buy 3 bunches for £5—despite the trader’s disparaging commentary.  Perhaps the hardest part of the day came in deciding which of the flowers I would choose to make my 3 bunches.

Columbia Road Flower Market is located in Tower Hamlets, London.  The nearest Tube Station is Old Street.  It is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

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