Where can you buy cut flowers at a reasonable price? Gardeners don't want those stiff arrangements, like the florist's special in cut glass vases stuck in styrofoam. We want real flowers that look soft and natural, smell good if possible, and don't cost a week's grocery money. Until we can cut armloads from our own gardens, which doesn't usually happen until the lilacs bloom (this year, who knows, it's so cold the lilacs might bloom in June..) we need to buy our flower fix...but where?
Until you can gather a bouquet like this from your garden yet (this was cut in August from my Langley garden - note the still very green tomatoes!). In the meantime, check out Trader Joe's, which often stocks generous bunches of iris or lilies for a ridiculously low price. Buy a couple of bunches, stick into a tall vase, and you have a gorgeous arrangement. I never go for their mixed bouquets, which are usually an inharmonious mix of obvious colors....but you won't find fresh, big bunches of single types of flowers anywhere else for less.
From January through May, Metropolitan Market sells lovely fat tulips at $12 for three bunches, enough to fill a good-sized vase. Three bunches all the same color makes an eye-catching, long-lasting display....I love the orange, but the deep purple and ivory are also showy.
Best Buds in Madison Park is a charming little flower shop, recommended to me by Ben Hammontree, who knows his flowers. Here's a short piece I wrote last year in the Seattle Times about this fabulous find of a place:
"Best Buds, on a quiet side street in Madison Park, is a European-style bucket market where you can pick a flower stem here or there from buckets arranged by color. “We don’t have pre-made or pre-done, and we don’t deliver,” says Lorentzen who has owned the shop with John Gallen and Babits Faires for a year-and-a-half. They are happy to help choose and wrap, and when they find a good deal at the flower market, they pass it on to their customers.
I pulled lilies, roses, snapdragons and freesia on a recent visit, Lorentzen threw in a few greens, and I ended up with a huge and fragrant extravagance for under $20.00. The shop spills out onto the sidewalk, wanders down alleys behind the shop, with potted plants and buckets of luscious flowers and greens. Branches of dogwood and edgeworthia, stems of cardoon and euphorbia, moss and unusual ferns – here are all the fixings for a unique, do-it-yourself bouquet. (4111 East Blaine, Seattle, 206-709-3926)."
And there's a new fresh flower find with the very cool name of Marigold & Mint, which is both organic farm and flower arrangement and delivery service. The farm is in the Snoqualmie Valley, and they deliver to florists, individuals or businesses. M&M is owned and operated by landscape architect Katherine Anderson who posts a tantalizing list online of what's fresh every week, including edible flowers and flowering branches as well as a wide range of garden flowers like pansies, hellebores, hyacinths, cherry blossoms and allium. It's so tempting to think of having a fresh bouquet delivered every week, arranged in a vintage mason jar or galvanized bucket instead of a pseudo cut glass thing. If Marigold & Mint's flowers are as clever as their name, or as beautiful as their web site, we're in for quite a treat....