Flower Lounge Heads to Amsterdam!
21 July 2017
Boasting the world’s largest flower auction as well as some of our favourite suppliers, we recently got the chance to visit Amsterdam. A chance to indulge our passion for learning as well as build relationships with some of the best growers and seek out new and exciting varieties for our customers.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Amsterdam a few times, but this was the first time the full team came with me…say ‘hallo’ to Mark, Steve, Grace and Emily!
Most of the time we’re so busy in the shop or dashing around between deliveries and weddings that it feels like we hardly see each other, so Amsterdam was a great chance to really talk, share ideas and get creative. And, we were totally inspired by this technicolour city.
We had an early start with a trip to FloraHolland; the world’s largest flower auction (the entire site is roughly the size of Monaco!) It is truly a sight to behold and a place where beauty meets business. Every day around €50 million's worth of flowers and plants are sold and where many of our suppliers source the best of the best.
It’s almost like a scene from a movie, with over 11,000 trollies of flowers whizzing around on the back of mini trucks, ready to be shipped all across the globe. You may have even spotted us on Facebook taking our own trolley ride – with a hilarious re-enactment by Mark and Steve of the famous scene from Titanic (photo below J).
We were extremely lucky to get a behind the scenes tour from husband and wife team, Merel and Ronald from online flower market, Florismart. Ronald spent many years working at FloraHolland so we got loads of insider knowledge that helped us better understand the journey of the flowers and the people that make this such a spectacular place.
Merel even took us to meet the supplier who packs our flowers! It was reassuring to see how much pride and care was put in to the packing process to make sure that they arrive to us in perfect condition. And obviously, we had to do a bit of shopping…we spotted a beautiful sangusorbia and some really interesting grasses, so we were quick to place an order with FloraHolland and can’t wait to start using them in our arrangements.
Our next stop was a visit Meijer Roses. Mejier have been growing roses for over 40 years and supply us with their award-winning Avalanche rose – the most enormous roses you have ever seen! It was such an honour to get an exclusive tour by John Meijer (I thought I’d died and gone to florist heaven…)
Everyone was blown away by their attention to detail. 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. They inspect the plants three times a day, to ensure that every rose is cut at exactly the right time. Phew!
We ended the day with a trip to Paauw Lilies - widely acclaimed for their beauty and purity. They grow over 10 million lilies per year on 16,000 tables which move constantly to ensure that the lilies receive the perfect growing conditions. We were even lucky enough to get a sneak preview of their new variety called Solange; a yellow/gold oriental lily that was simply divine and that we now have in stock!
By the end of the day we were all exhausted but also full of ideas and couldn’t stop talking about what we had seen and learnt. When we got back to the shop I even overheard Grace and Emily telling customers all about how the roses and lilies are grown – which makes it all worthwhile.
Holland is undoubtedly still the go-to place for flowers and our time spent in Amsterdam showed the growers and suppliers to be at the top of their game. Not to say us Brits can’t keep up; we have some fantastic British flower suppliers, who provide us with beautiful flowers and foliage from local farms. Read our British Flowers Blog for more info. The point is about being able to source and stock the very best in both quality and range to keep our discerning customers happy.
Drop in and see what takes your fancy!