Flowers from Amsterdam

05 October 2016

Holland is synonymous with flowers, boasting the world’s largest flower auction and biggest single flower bulb field…this month I was lucky enough to visit this technicolour country!

At The Flower Lounge we not only want to give our customers the very best flowers but also the best price.  During my trip to Holland I visited a number of growers and suppliers to help broaden my knowledge of the industry and also to look at our supply chain and make sure we continue to get the very highest standards of service.

It was a phenomenal experience with some truly awe-inspiring sights that I just had to share, although I have to caveat the rest of this blog with a geek alert – flowers are such a passion and tend to bring out the enthusiast in me.

My first stop was a meeting with the Meijer Roses family, who have been growing roses for over 40 years. They supply us with one of our favourite flowers, the award winning Avalanche rose. No small buds here, they produce the most enormous blooms you have ever seen with a scent that leaves you swooning!  They have been an exceptionally popular flower in many of our bouquets of the past few years, so to see them en-masse was spectacular.

We were taken into their new greenhouse – it’s the only one in the country to use a specialised glass which diffuses shadows so the roses grow better and get maximum light.  As you can imagine, it was pretty impressive to see the sheer number of roses, each as flawless as the next.  There is around 50,000 square metres of space and each square metre grows around 200 stems of Avalanche roses – I thought I’d died and gone to florist heaven!

It takes approximately 9 weeks to grow these long-stemmed roses and quality control is everything to the family, with each rose grown and selected by hand.

And it appears we’re not the only ones to love these exclusive roses as they are the go-to flower for royal weddings, celebrity parties and luxury brand launches. Over 8,000 Avalanche roses took centre stage at Kris Jenner’s spectacular 60th birthday party in Los Angeles last year as well as being the show-stopping flower at Kim Kardashian’s wedding to musician Kanye West. But why should they have all the fun?  We are one of only a few florists to offer our customers these beautiful blooms - choose from the classic white or ivory Avalanche, the soft pink Sweet Avalanche or the champagne coloured Pearl Avalanche…or have them all!

Next stop on my Holland ‘holiday’ was an early start to visit Flora Holland at Aalsmeer: the world’s largest flower auction (the entire site is roughly the size of Monaco WOW!) You may have caught a glimpse of it on the recent Channel 4 documentary – The Billion Pound Flower Market. This is where beauty meets business.

Every day around €50 million's worth of flowers and plants are sold but, for me, the amazing quantity of beautiful flowers and watching the hustle and bustle of the auction floor, was a unique experience. This is where many of our suppliers source the best of the best.

Holland is undoubtedly still the go-to place for flowers and my time spent there showed the growers and suppliers to be at the top of their game. Not to say us Brits can’t keep up; earlier this year we announced a new British flower supplier, who is now providing us with beautiful flowers and foliage from local farmers. The point is about being able to source and stock the very best in both quality and range to keep our discerning customers happy.