Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm checks an order at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

You have to get up early to catch the action at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.  The doors open at 6 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and by 6:30 a.m. the warehouse is already a whirl of activity.  Florists and buyers arrive at sunrise for the freshest blooms.  I can image the local growers on the road in the pre-dawn darkness hurrying to get their flowers to market in time for this buying rush.

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is open to the public on Fridays from 10 – 2 (small fee for admission)

Ready to load up the car with new purchases

The back of another florist’s truck

This has obviously been a good year for our local flower growers, and it is gratifying to see the market flourishing.  Summer is a season of abundance in the flower fields, and inside the warehouse was a bounteous array of choices for bouquets and floral arrangements.  Here are some photos:

The morning sun casts a shadow through the open warehouse door.

Nicole, the front desk manager, greets buyers and keeps the operations flowing.

Oregon Coastal Flowers section of the warehouse

Such an assortment of colors and textures for unique floral arrangements

Deep purple calla lilies lined up for purchase, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Buckets of calla lilies, Oregon Coastal Flowers

Floral lamp shades, J Foss Garden Flowers

Green and orange gladioli, J Foss Garden Flowers

Calla lilies await wrapping

Wrapped and ready to go

Wrapping supplies

A buyer backs up to the loading dock for her purchases

Dahlias in yellow bucket

Sneezeweed assortment in brown wrapping paper

Eremurus

Check out counter

Fallen blossoms and petals on the loading dock

Scabiosa, Jello Mold Farm

The loading dock at 7:30 a.m. — the early morning rush was over.

Furnished with Flowers

July 12, 2012

Jelly jar with a few seasonal blooms

Flowers of the season

Bouquet from my friend Carol, who makes gorgeous arrangements of cut flowers from her garden

“How fitting to have every day, in a vase of water on your table, the wild flowers of the season which are just blossoming.  Can any house be said to be furnished without them?”
— Henry David Thoreau, Journal, July 5, 1852

I love having a few natural things, found objects or a bloom or two, on my work table.  but whenever I’m given one of my friend Carol’s spectacular bouquets, I just bask in their beauty.

 

Roses from Carol’s garden

Roses
by D. H. Lawrence

Nature responds so beautifully.
Roses are only once-wild roses, that were given an extra chance,
So they bloomed out and filled themselves with coloured fulness
Out of sheer desire to be splendid, and more splendid.

My friend and colleague, Carol, brought a bouquet of her home-grown roses to work for everyone to enjoy.  The splendid bouquet graced the Circulation Desk at the library, and I stuck my nose into the soft petals several times a day to inhale their heady fragrance.  Thank you, Carol!!

The bouquet was especially fragrant.

Grace note at the library Circulation Desk

Flower vendor at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

It’s always a treat to play tourist in my home town, and yesterday I wandered through the Pike Place Market with my niece and her kids.  The Pike Place Market is open year round, but it is especially colorful right now with so many cut flowers vying for your attention.  The vendors were busy assembling gigantic bouquets for sale at just $10 to $15.

Flower vendor and bucket of peonies

This bouquet was selling for $15

Another vendor’s fresh bouquets

Buckets of lupine and irises

Vendor putting together a bouquet behind an array of glorious poppies

Kerchief camouflaged among the flowers

Flower stall through plastic window

Pike Place Market flower vendors

Fallen sweet peas by the vendors’ stalls

“I shall not be likely to go to town while the lilacs bloom.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Lilac bouquet

Lilac bouquet on the kitchen windowsill

Lilac

Have you ever noticed the thin purple edge on a lilac leaf?

The scent of lilacs is such an ephemeral gift.  The lilac bloom in Seattle is in its last days, and I just cut another fresh bouquet while I had the chance.

Here are some tips for cutting lilac bouquets from Gretchen Hoyt of Alm Hill Gardens, who was featured in The 50 Mile Bouquet:

  • “Harvest lilacs when most of the florets are open, perhaps with a few closed florets at the top of the bloom.  They never open past the stage when you pick them.”
  • “Using a sharp knife, ‘shave’ the cut stem as if you are shaving a pencil.  This exposes the under bark, which creates more area for water to be absorbed by the flower.”

Warehouse doors open at 6 a.m.

I got up at 5 o’clock this morning so that I could check out the Grand Opening of Seattle’s wholesale flower market.  I was there when the doors opened at 6 a.m.  I am not a wholesaler, but the public was welcome for the Grand Opening celebration.  Oh, the flowers were lovely, even in a warehouse setting.  Here are some photos:

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Grand Opening

Inside the warehouse -- Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Calla lilies in their glory

Calla lily

Another calla lily -- like a giant eye

Calla lily stems

You can see that I was captivated by these beautiful calla lilies.

Yellow calla lilies wrapped for sale

Green Goddess Calla Lilies

Green Goddess Calla Lily

Wild, woodsy floral pieces

Rustic baskets

Basket of ribbons

Wrapped purchases

Ranunculus

Buckets and boxes of ranunculus

Floral boots

Celebrating all things floral: embroidered dress

Make Way for Iris

May 2, 2011

Spring is a long parade of flowers, and next in line is the iris.  I’m now seeing iris buds, swaddled like little babes in tissue wrapping.  Blooms soon.

Border of budding iris

This photo resembles an impressionist painting.

Simple bouquet of budding iris

Watercolor sketch of iris buds

First cutting of rhubarb

This week I harvested my first cutting of rhubarb and made a rhubarb pie.  Here’s a virtual visit to the rhubarb patch.  Wish I could give you a taste through the screen!

The rhubarb in my garden is flourishing in this cool spring weather.

Rhubarb's giant leaves make an extravagant bouquet, don't you agree?

Washing the rhubarb stalks in the sink

Colander with sliced rhubarb

Pie ingredients in one big bowl

Rhubarb pie filling

Rhubarb pie cooling on the kitchen counter

First slice, still warm

First taste of rhubarb pie this year

Savoring the last two bites

I used the same recipe that I posted two years ago.  Here is the link:  https://rosemarywashington.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/first-of-the-season-rhubarb-pie/.

Early Tulips

March 8, 2010

The Skagit Valley is perhaps best known for its annual Tulip Festival in April.  I would expect that the tulip fields will begin blooming in late March this year.  I thought I might see some ribbons of color in the fields on my weekend drive, but I saw only the yellow of daffodils.  I did see a handful of individually blooming tulips in the demonstration gardens at Roozengaarde.  Many more were still tightly furled buds.

Tulip bed at Roozengaarde

Early tulip bud

The promise of a tulip bud

Unfurled tulip

Yellow tulip just about to burst into bloom

Tulips and shadows

Assembling a fresh bouquet in the Roozengaarde gift shop