This week, I spent two days in Holland for both research purposes and for buying new sundries! I had a fantastic time seeing where the flowers are grown, where they are auctioned and then seeing the flowers at the Dutch wholesalers to be distributed back to England.

I had the pleasure of seeing both a Lilly and a Germini grower in Rijnsburg. It was fascinating to learn that the Lilly grower will grow 9 million stems of Lilly a year! All the Lilly bulbs are planted by hand and once fully grown the flowers will all be cut by hand and packed and into water in just 30 seconds!

The next step is to auction the flowers. I visted the largest flower and plant auction in Holland called Aalsmeer. I had the opportunity to see the "Clocks" which is the method to how the flowers are sold. The price starts high and then within milliseconds the price drops and the traders have to press a button when the price is what they want to pay per stem. If a trader has an order for 1000 red Roses and only 1000 red Roses are being sold that day, they need to buy them before anyone else does and so will pay the highest price. This is why at peak periods e.g. Valentine's Day, flower prices are so high. If the trader doesn't buy straight away, they risk another trader buying them and then they would not be able to fufill their customer's order. It takes 3 years at college to train the traders in how to buy!

From the auction I visited many sundry wholesalers and bought at most of them! It was lovely to be able to buy items that just aren't available to buy in England. The two wholesalers I visited whilst in Holland are the two that distribute flowers back to my local wholesaler. To see their high standards of care and quality was invaluable and so I can safely say I can trust the flowers and foliage in which I buy.

I would like to thank my floral wholesaler for the opportunity to go to Holland, the two flower growers and also the two Dutch wholesalers for their hospitality.