Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Flowers, Love, and Money
Covent Garden Market
Doesn't it just brighten up your day to see a lovely bouquet of flowers smiling at you? A vase of flowers can liven up your entire room and often bring comments of admirations from visitors. These days you can find flower stalls all over the place. There are two at either entrance of Wimbledon Station, one at Kingston Market, and whenever I reach the end of the till at Marks & Spencers there is usually a buck of tulips or roses at two for £5 to tempt you into an impulse buy. Marks & Spencers have been selling plants since the 1920s, but it was only in 1979 that they began selling the cut flowers you find at markets. Since then many other stores have taken up this trend, and you can buy bouquets almost anywhere. But that was not always the case, as the Floriculture exhibition at the Garden Museum will tell you.
The flower trade began at Covent Garden market in the 17th century, and continues to be the epicentre of all things flowery today, such as the illustrations by Edward Bawden, and the Floral Hall. Until the 19th century wholesale flower trade was small, but then in the 1880s, the growth of the railways meant more varieties could be transported to London, and later, even shipped overseas to America. What used to be a £1.8 billion industry in the 1950s has become a £64 billion industry today.
The exhibition will follow the growth of the flower trade industry, as well as explore the symbolism behind flowers, from funeral rites, marriages, and the inspiration they have given to artists. Part of the exhibition will involve commissioning artists in order to record the life stories of traders in the flower market.