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More Flowers!

by habituallychic

03 . 18 . 08

In my quest for photo shoot perfection this weekend, I made a trek to the Flower District for some fresh blooms and branches. The prices aren’t necessarily cheaper than the corner deli but the flowers are flown in daily and are much fresher and healthier. And in my case, any savings were negated by the cab ride I had to take home but it was definitely worth the effort.

The Flower District in New York is located in the Chelsea neighborhood on Sixth Avenue and 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. If I lived in the area, I’d be there every week but since it’s a bit out of the way I only go when I want something special. There is a great article from The New York Times about the gritty reality behind the business of flowers.
The early bird gets the worm in the Flower District or in this case the yellow Ranunculus which I missed out on because I got there after 9:00am. Did I mention that I’m not a morning person? Anyway, there are quite a few business in the district to find what you are looking for from orchids and exotic blooms to full trees and branches or just cut flowers. You name it, they probably have it. Unless you get there late, in which case, you are of luck until the next morning. A few tips to remember. Cash is king. Some stores have a minimum credit card purchase amount or only take business credit cards so stop by the ATM first. Also, leave the Louboutins at home. Of course, I was wearing inappropriate shoes, so learn from my mistake. The Flower District is wet and dirty. You’ve been warned.

The Flower Market Association web site has a list of businesses but one of my favorites is Foliage Paradise that sells plants like the Hyacinth above that I bought from them for $7 (the pot was mine). They are always so nice and helpful. You can bring in your own pot or buy one of theirs and they will repot your plant and will also add moss for a professional touch. They also deliver which is great at the holidays if you want to send an Orchid or Amaryllis to your friends or clients.

The other great place I visited was US Evergreens Inc. on Sixth Avenue. This is the place to go for seasonal branches like the Forsythia above that they were nice enough to cut down for me. Looks much better than the Quince I bought at the corner market! The shop was packed with branches like the Cherry Blossoms that were taller than the ceilings in my apartment! They also carry trees and greenery during the holidays.

Someone who gets up really early to get to the Flower District at 5:00am every Monday morning is Charles Masson, the owner of the amazing French restaurant, La Grenouille, which is famous for it’s flowers. When I first moved to New York, I used to walk by La Grenouille on my way to work and I loved peaking in the front window to see Charles arranging the blooms. He said it takes over six hours for him to arrange them all!

Martha Stewart recently paid a visit to La Grenouille to see Charles at work and to dine on their amazing French cuisine. You can read more about it on her blog. There is also a book about the famous flowers, The Flowers of La Grenouille, which is out of print but can still be found for sale online. I hope a new edition is in the works!

Another great book I just received to preview is Flower Sense: The Art of Decorating by Tricia Guild published by Rizzoli. It’s filled with beautiful photos of every flower imaginable and would make a perfect gift for any flower lover or yourself. I once had an older woman tell me it was bad luck to buy myself flowers to which I say poppycock! I’m certainly not going to wait around for some dumb boy to buy me flowers, although if they were smart, they would realize that a well timed bouquet of pink peonies would be more well received than all the diamonds in the world! And they can be easily found in the Flower District!

Comments Closed

  1. Susan March 18, 2008 | 2:57 pm

    One of my and my two children’s favorite memories of being in France is the flower market we perused. It was like the best farmer’s market here in the States – times 100 – but just with flowers…..insanely beautiful with smells abounding!

    It left an indelible impression on us three.

    Gay Paree

  2. design - 59 March 18, 2008 | 3:10 pm

    Oh how I love the flower market!

    I have been very early several times for client’s. It just makes your whole day wonderful to start out being surrounded by so many flowers.

  3. Mary Ellen March 18, 2008 | 3:24 pm

    Speaking of the flower district, a beautiful book of amazing floral photopgraphy by NY photographer Chrisopher Beane has just been published. He has been called the love child of Robert Mapplethorpe and Georgia O’Keeffe. Check out Flower by Christopher Beane.

  4. Habitually Chic March 18, 2008 | 3:56 pm

    Susan, I can just imagine a flower market in France being beyond amazing! What a treat!

  5. Habitually Chic March 18, 2008 | 3:57 pm

    Design 59, I can’t wait to go back and get some flowers for my friend’s Easter brunch on Sunday! It’s addictive!

  6. Habitually Chic March 18, 2008 | 3:57 pm

    Mary Ellen, Thanks for the info. I’ll have to check it out!

  7. LondonCalling March 18, 2008 | 4:43 pm

    Even the flowers you can get at corner stands are amazing in New York. You are sooo lucky!

  8. Brilliant Asylum March 18, 2008 | 9:35 pm

    I love seeing your vignettes–especially the hyacinth in the pretty silver pot.

  9. Anonymous March 19, 2008 | 3:36 am

    OK…..I am a recent devotee of your blog, and all I can say is….AMAZING. Hats off to you for being so interesting, thorough and thought provoking in your entries. I have gone back and read most of your history and find it all fascinating. I am hooked. Best from an admirer in California – Michael.

  10. Habitually Chic March 19, 2008 | 3:46 am

    London Calling, You can find nice flowers at the corner stands but you have to be careful. They sometimes pull the outer leaves off the roses which drives me crazy!

  11. Habitually Chic March 19, 2008 | 3:48 am

    Thanks BA! I bought two of those silver pots at Pottery Barn over Christmas for $7 each. I didn’t know exactly what I would use them for but I thought they might be great for an orchid or amaryllis and now hyacinths! I love them!

  12. Habitually Chic March 19, 2008 | 3:50 am

    Thanks Michael! Are you by any chance single and straight?! Just kidding! I hope I can live up to your kind words!

  13. Suzy March 19, 2008 | 5:34 am

    Wish I had’ve seen the flower market when I was in NY – it sounds amazing!

  14. Jessica March 19, 2008 | 12:42 pm

    I saw that Martha episode & was quite impressed!

    I love the second photo you posted, very nice. 🙂

  15. Alice Olive March 19, 2008 | 5:57 pm

    Your posts always inspire!

    You’ve got me thinking about Spring. I’m lucky enough to have a farmer’s market one block from where I live on the weekends in the warmer months (the few that exist in Chicago!). One of the reasons I love it is for fresh homemade pasta and the flowers. I love getting up early (as you say, that’s the way) and getting my pick. The fragances are wonderful and it’s always a pick-me-up. I wind up with flowers in every room, including the bathroom, which is a lovely little luxury.

    Thanks for making me look forward to Spring!

  16. So Haute March 21, 2008 | 2:16 am

    habitually chic…what a great post! you’ve inspired me! usually i just go the corner deli route…probably because they’re so cheap but you’re so right…they’re never as fresh and they never last as long. i think i need to take a trip to the flower district asap!

  17. stacy March 21, 2008 | 5:05 pm

    I love this. We have the market in Seattle, but it isn’t a flower market. Back in California, they have an amazing, and I mean AMAZING flower market at half moon bay, 20 minutes from San Francisco.