The Georgetown warehouse of the Seattle Wholesale Growers' Market

The Georgetown warehouse of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

“We tend to consider bloom to be the ultimate gift of the garden, but the structure is just as important. For example, the phlox is beautiful in its mass of foliage, even before the blossoms emerge.”
— Stanley Kunitz, from The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden

Kunitz finds metaphors for his poetry writing in his flower garden.  Here is one of its lessons:  “In a poem, the secrets of the poem give it its tension and gift of emerging sense and form, so that it’s not always the flowering in the poem and the specific images that make it memorable, but the tensions and physicality, the rhythms, the underlying song.”

So, too, one of the lessons I’ve learned from the flower growing experts at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is that you can make a spectacular bouquet from stems, twigs, pods, leaves, and things scavenged from nature.  Blooming is definitely not all a plant can offer.  There’s plenty going on in all seasons of the year.

The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is a farm-owned cooperative with a focus on local, seasonal, and sustainable flowers.  I dropped in last week and was pleased to see that the Market is growing.  It’s expanded its warehouse space and is gearing up for its busiest year yet.

Here are some photos from mid-May at the Market celebrating its “underlying song”:

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Sweet peas

Sweet peas from Jello Mold Farm

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And sweet pea vines

And sweet pea vines

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Calla lilies from Z Callas

Calla lilies from Z Callas

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Snowballs and callas displayed by Oregon Coastal Flowers inside the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market warehouse

Yesterday the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market celebrated its one-year anniversary with a festive party at their Georgetown warehouse.  It was a joyous occasion, full of color, supportive buyers and friends, fresh blooms, and good food.  Debra Prinzing and David E. Perry, author and photographer, were on hand to sign copies of their new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet.  (The New York Times recently wrote an interesting article about the book and the “buy local” flower movement.  You can link to it here.)

Starting June 1st, the market will open its doors to retail buyers on Fridays from 10 – 2 and will charge a $5 fee for this privilege.  I appreciated getting an invitation to the Anniversary Party, even though I am not a wholesaler or florist.  I am proud to know this group of local flower growers who are working so hard to promote sustainability and local markets in the flower industry.  Small is beautiful!

Here are some photos of the day:

Twig baskets on the loading dock, from Oregon Coastal Flowers

Bucket full of calla lilies, Oregon Coastal Flowers

I simply cannot resist including another photo of these gorgeous calla lilies.

Buyer selects individual blooms from the choice inventory of J Foss Garden Flowers.

Janet, owner of J Foss Garden Flowers

Janet writes up a sale.

Another buyer

Casual seating area

Diane Szukovathy of Jello Mold Farm flanked by author Debra Prinzing and photographer David E. Perry with their book, The 50 Mile Bouquet

Debra Prinzing signing book

Debra Prinzing signing copies of her new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet

Photographer David E. Perry signing copies of his book, The 50 Mile Bouquet

The focus is on super fresh, seasonal flowers like these tulips.

Flower arranging demonstration

Flower arranging demonstration

Diane Szukovathy speaking passionately to local buyers and florists

Diane talking with her hands

Jello molds at the warehouse from Jello Mold Farm

Reflections in a mirror at the warehouse

Purchases on the loading dock

Diane Szukovathy, President of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market Cooperative

Flower Market Revisited

September 2, 2011

Purchases ready for pickup, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

It has been some time since I last visited the flower growers at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in Georgetown.  I made a trip down on Wednesday to see what’s blooming now in the late summer.  As always, I was captivated by the gorgeous flowers and new varieties offered for sale at this thriving market.  I so appreciate the invitation to photograph extended to me by Diane of Jello Mold Farm.  Thank you!

Buckets of colorful hydrangeas brighten this corner of the old warehouse

Red Queen Lime Zinnias -- I loved the zing of the lime color!

Red Queen Lime Zinnia

Zinnia from Jello Mold Farm

Dinnerplate Dahlias, Jello Mold Farm

More dahlias (salad plate size)

Green Trick Dianthus, North Fork Growers

These won my vote for the most unusual flower of the day.

Artichokes, Jello Mold Farm

Sunflower

Scabiosa pods

Scabiosa pods (another new-to-me flower)

These growers offer enough beauty to sustain you for days.

 

Abandoned warehouse, Georgetown neighborhood, Seattle

“We’ll abandon anything and move on.”
— Howard Mansfield

On my first visit to the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Flower Market I discovered that it was located in one of Seattle’s old warehouse districts.  I am not familiar with the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle’s south side, but this first visit intrigued me.  I was drawn to the haunting beauty of the derelict warehouses, some of them finding new uses as artist studios.

Derelict warehouse, Georgetown district

Boarded up window

Old warehouse, Georgetown district

Ventilation fan, old warehouse

I am not the first to be attracted to old buildings.  Photographer Brian Vanden Brink has been photographing them for decades, and you can see some of the images in Ruin: Photographs of a Vanishing America.

Ruin, a book of photographs

Two of the photos from the book

“To me they are mysterious and melancholy, hauntingly beautiful. . . Maybe these buildings fascinate me because they represent all of us — metaphors for our transient lives and inability to stop the passing of time. . . They are relics of another time, but they are of my time, too.  They are statues, memorializing the transitory nature of life.”
— Brian Vander Brink, Ruins: Photographs of a Vanishing America

“Man is born to die.  His works are short lived.  Buildings crumble, monuments decay, and wealth vanishes.”
— Percival Baxter