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Plant Auctions and Floral Tantrums

For those of you currently planning your wedding flowers, we can bet you’ve never given thought to how the flowers get to your florist, let alone become part of your wedding day. Gemma from Planet Flowers gives us another magical glimpse into her world sharing her recent trip to Aalmseer in Holland. Plant auctions and floral tantrums – who knew…

Aalsmeer, Holland

Last month we took a trip to Aalsmeer in Holland. We try and do this as often as we can. Sometimes we make a little weekend trip of it and stay in Amsterdam or a nearby town, but our most recent trip was for business only. It was a very quick two day trip but we jam packed as much as we could in that short time!

Most florists in their career will make the pilgrimage to Aalsmeer, the largest trading centre for flowers and plants in the world. Every time I visit, it has grown larger and technology has improved the operation. As florists we forget quickly how much work goes into growing, cutting, selling and shipping flowers before they actually reach our hands. So many flowers are incredibly fragile and perishable that the care involved in getting those flowers to us in the most efficient time is actually quite unbelievable.

Flower Auction

Our first stop of the day is Flora Holland. Taking in the vastness of the building in itself is quite crazy. It literally feels like it will never end. Flora Holland has a visitor’s side which you can pay to go into, it costs around €7. You are able to walk above the entire length of the auctions, viewing the goings on from above.

Standing watching the constant movement of trollies, bikes and carts gives you quite a buzz! Even if you are dragging your better half along, who isn’t very flowery they will not be disappointed with the extraordinary views. As you wander along the walkways you can view into the auctions and see the buyers bidding on flowers.

We were lucky enough to be with one of our suppliers who invited us into the plant auction that was happening at the time. Walking through a sea of laptops, we sat right in the middle and we were given a little crash course on how the auction clocks worked.

New Flowers Discovered

From here we travelled to our largest supplier’s warehouse. One of the biggest reasons we go to Holland is to make sure we are not missing anything. Although the world seems so much smaller now than ever before it is quite easy to miss a new rose, shade of hydrangea or exciting new flower variety.

Being lucky enough to walk the rose floor for example is such a privilege. This makes us so much more aware of what is happening in flower trends before even thinking about how we will use them in styling weddings. Every bucket of flowers has a sticker giving you all the relevant information and the name of the flower. We take hundreds of photos so when we get back home we can start investigating new flowers we have found! Antique Avalanche rose for example.. what a beauty!

Succulents and Cacti

More frequently we are using plants within our floralscapes in weddings just now. Especially the extremely popular succulent, that is responsible for all that gorgeous texture through weddings just now. We made sure to get to the best plant warehouse in the area.

The sheer volume of succulents and cacti was breath-taking, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Using plants within wedding styling is such a great way to give you the more natural organic feel we all seem to crave just now. The added bonus of being able to give these away after your wedding as a gift or planting them in your own garden gives them an even more special touch.

Aladdin’s Cave

Now that our morning had been complete with all things botanical it was time to move on after a big cup of coffee and our favourite Dutch treats to be inspired by props and glassware! We visited a few different florist sundries warehouses but we left the best to last!

D.I is not far from the auction and is set out very much like Ikea. One level has every single item on show either with in collections or set out to give you inspiration on how to use it. Then like Ikea you down in to the depths of the warehouse to find your perfect vase or prop boxed and ready to ship! This place is like an Aladdin’s cave – you really have to go in with your sensible hat on or you would return broke. The array of different vases, containers, ribbons – even shades of pebbles or pine cones it’s just so hard to behave and really decide what you need, what you want and really what you just must have or you will have a tantrum!

We finished up there and headed back to the airport, after our long day, tired with sore feet but filled with excitement and inspiration ready to take us through the summer!

Wow – we love this insight into the floristry world. Something tells us we’d be like kids in sweetie shops with all that pretty on display. Alie x

Based in Edinburgh, Gemma has been surrounded by flowers since a very young age, and loves to push the boundaries when it comes to floral art. Along with her Planet Flowers team, she has been adding botanical magic to weddings and events (remember the Chanel Metiers d’Art show in Scotland?) for many years, and is now bringing her crazy craft skills to WFIL.