Today, I thought I'd share a few floral moments around Holtwood House as seen over the Thanksgiving holiday. I parlayed my current fascination with rocks, agate and geodes and worked them into my holiday tablescape. Air plants were mounted to vintage brass candlesticks that flanked the center arrangement and worked to counter the weight of the amethyst. A little greenery eventually made it's way to every corner of the house, a detail which helped make the house feel festive and holiday-ready.
But before all that fun could begin, I made a trip out to the LA Flower District (one of the happiest places on Earth as far as I'm concerned) early last Wednesday morning. I loaded up on pods, berries and greenery and spent the remainder of the day styling my arrangements. You know, those are my favorite kinds of days... quietly creating with a little background music, just before the true hustle and bustle of staging a party begins.
Most major cities have a floral district of sorts- a place where vendors gather to sell mostly wholesale to the trade. There are two within my reach- Downtown LA (my market of choice) and San Diego- and just as expected, there was plenty of inspiration to be had at the "Mart" that morning around every corner.
Never been to the Flower District? There are a few things you should know.
Go early. Professional floral designers arrive as early as 2am to get the best picks. If you are non-trade, plan to arrive by 6am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Entry hours are a later on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Plan to arrive right at 8am on those days. Though posted hours suggest the market is open much later, you will start seeing some of the bigger vendors packing up early.
Bring cash. Though many vendors take credit cards, it really helps to expedite your transaction (and limit your budget in the event you want to go completely nuts) if you have cash. Unless you are carrying a trade badge, you will also to pay the $2 entrance fee at the door and they only take exact change. Quarters are also helpful if you are lucky enough to snag a parking spot on the street or need to use the pay only restroom.
Dress in layers. An early morning walk through these chilly buildings calls for a sweatshirt and gloves- particularly this time of year. You'll likely peel a layer or two off, depending on how late you stay. Better to be prepared than uncomfortable.
Bring a hand cart. Bundles of newspaper wrapped blooms get heavy. Avoid frequent trips to the car and bring a little shopping cart if you have one available. It's best to keep all your picks visible anyway so you can easily pair to what you've already purchased.
The "district" has two sides. The Southern California Flower Market off Maple in my opinion has the best selection of flowers. My favorite vendor there is Mayesh. Go there first and snatch up anything unique you must have. It will likely be gone if you think you are going to come back to it. Price out more common blooms like roses, hydrangea, tulips, etc... from several vendors. The other side- Los Angeles Flower Market- will hook you up with the best selection of tropicals and orchids.
The lowdown on other details, including hours and parking can be found on the LA Flower District website.