Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bay Area Visit 2014: San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart

What's becoming almost an annual trip down to the Bay Area to visit friends, family, nurseries, and gardens, I had three destinations in mind for my extended weekend down in the Bay Area of California. One of my first stops was one of the country's largest flower markets!

"If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair".... well, then you have to hit up the famous SF Wholesale Flower Mart on Brannan Street.

Composed of a MASSIVE warehouse where 60+ vendors pack the large facility with cut blooms, potted plants, branches, and other natural materials, the SFWFM also includes "stores" lined up one by one selling specialty products such as orchids, potted tropicals, floral supplies and other hard goods. It's the nucleus of the Bay Area's floral industry and you can basically get everything you need to run your flower business.
It was a little intimidating to go as I was renting a car for the very first time so driving into the big city was a little nerve-wracking (thank goodness for iPhone Maps)  and I was also testing out my new digital camera and entering a place that can be very fast paced and I was actually worried about vendors harping on me for being a disturbance. Perhaps I could have contacted someone and inquired about visiting and taking photos, but they did have public shopping hours so I thought I'd just go and ask the individual vendors if I could take photographs and all seem to say "yes" (although I did see a sign that said "no photography please", but no one said anything and I was pretty much finished taking photos when I saw it. OOPS.

This place was quite large and pretty exciting to see the product being offered.

These manzanita branches were to die for!

California grown!!

A baker's multiple dozens of already cut succulents!
Yes, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An assortment of Bromeliads sold here for floral work!

My favorite Tillandsia xerographica

Puffy hydrangeas including some unusual peachy types!

A close-up of these soft peach Hydrangeas that were probably dyed. =(

A most interesting manipulation of Phalaenopsis orchid spikes shaped into a heart

Fresh old-fashioned garden roses!!

 Another interesting observation was a business that I've heard a lot about in various publications. "Farmgirl Flowers" is tucked into a vendor stall within the SFWFM and boy is business thriving for them. What surprised me most were the multiple employees. Two long tables up front are flanked with Macs with 5-6 people at a table probably taking orders and in the background you can see all of their supplies and the arrangements being assembled. They supply locally sourced flowers throughout the city and often do special events.

 Their wedding inquiries are sent over to my next stop in San Francisco: the infamous FLORA GRUBB.


For more information about the market, visit their website (which could use a reformat and update):


Monday, May 19, 2014

Buying less plants, but making new friends: Hortlandia 2014

I'm so very behind with NGG, but I'm gonna attempt to catch you all up anyway! I've blogged about this plant sale before as I've considered it the very best of our region because of the wonderful selection of rare and unusual oddities, but it's also made special due to the wonderful people and friends that I've met over the years that make the long three-hour drive (I hate driving long distances) so definitely worth it.

So let me take you back to April when I made my annual spring drive down to Portland, OR to hang out with planty friends and attend the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's plant sale dubbed, "HORTLANDIA"!

The really big difference this season is I'm not able to splurge and purchase plants like I used to. It Without my own personal garden anymore, I've really had to show restraint and avoid buying plants that won't have an immediate home. So mostly, I aimed to shop for clients.

The crowd this plant sale generates is incredible!

Moments before customers flood the floors of the Portland Expo Center

The "FLOOD" can see floor...must either be lunch time or it's the second day of the sale, which is traditionally slower.
The guys from Sebright Gardens have the best shelving/delivery system for their plants!
And here's their gorgeous display of Hostas, ferns, Epimediums and other shade loving plants from Salem, OR. Kirk and Thomas are two of the nicest guys with some pretty extraordinary plants.

I'm always excited to help out at the Cistus booth with all their incredible selections of plants for everyone!

Prior to the sale, however, I was able to meet up with some plant friends and fellow garden bloggers. Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens and Loree Bohl of Danger Gardens joined by other local Portlanders and a few friends from Washington also made it down!

We hit up Xera Plants retail space in Portland where we held the EMERGENT get-together last summer. Then a nursery none of us have ventured to: Secret Garden Growers in Canby, OR. A lovely specialty nursery with a great selection of choice perennial plants.

Loree and avid gardener Ryan Miller chat's with Greg at Xera Plants

Perusing the plants at Secret Garden Growers in Canby, OR

A sweet little Columbine I couldn't resist at SGG: Aquilegia viridiflora 'Chocolate Soldier'. What's so special about this tiny flower with a muddy color?  IT'S FRAGRANT!

Discussing our finds and what we should have for lunch! lol

Loree found her plant of the day and she made sure no goat was gonna get a nibble!!!

 This gang of Portland gardeners are a wonderful bunch and I feel honored to have gotten to know them. We all crossed paths at the plant sale to add to our acquisitions for the weekend where I came away with just a few things. I'm glad I found a few larger plants for a client!

And a trip to PDX isn't complete without a visit to Cistus Design in Sauvie Island.