A first glance at the Portland Flower Market

There are some definite perks with working in the industry. One of them is a pass to the Portland Flower Market – a wholesale market that caters to everything florist-related one could possibly imagine. For a while, I’ve been thinking of visiting, and this morning – after dropping the kids off at tennis – I finally did.

Hidden near the Portland harbor, in a huge industrial building dwell enough product to keep a girl happy for many hours - even on a Saturday. According to the receptionist, Wednesday mornings is when it's truly hopping.

Hidden near the Portland harbor, in a huge industrial building dwell enough product to keep a girl happy for many hours – even on a Saturday. According to the receptionist, Wednesday mornings is when it’s truly hopping.

There are a couple of larger distributors - Frank Adams and Shibata, as well as several smaller ones. Area 3 - Oregon Flower Grower's Association -  is probably the most interesting as it holds the spaces of several smaller specialty growers - from cacti and succulents to orchids.

There are a couple of larger distributors – Frank Adams and Shibata, as well as several smaller ones. Area 3 – Oregon Flower Grower’s Association – is probably the most interesting (to me, anyway) as it holds the spaces of several smaller specialty growers – from cacti and succulents to orchids and tropicals.

In the entry hall, you are met by the fiery colors of tropical flowers. What a treat on such a rainy day!

In the entry hall, you are met by the fiery colors of tropical flowers. What a treat on such a rainy day!

Anything you might need to make a killer arrangement is there.

Anything you might need to make a killer arrangement is there.

Not sure what these are, but I liked their curving tips.

Not sure what these are, but I liked their curving tips.

Dogwood buds - I love their little onion dome shapes!

Dogwood buds – I love their little onion dome shapes!

Not the best photo, but the way these branches were arranged spoke to me.

Not the best photo, but the way these branches were arranged – from dark to light – spoke to me.

Right after my visit to the Flower Market, I went to see a new client. They said "Make it look like India". I'm so excited about this project!

Right after my visit to the Flower Market, I went to see a new client. They said “Make it look like India”. I’m so excited about this project – I’m going to have a lot of fun with this one!

Loved the green orchids against the turquoise background.

Loved the green orchids against the turquoise background.

I started my exploration at Shibata, and then made my way to Frank Adams. Perhaps the differences are minute, but I found more inspiring merchandise at Shibata than I did at Frank Adams. Some cross-over for sure, but on the whole I felt they catered to different crowds. Maybe I’m wrong, and future visits will straighten my impressions out, but for now, I know which one I will go to first.

Seemingly miles and miles of vases, pots, saucers, stands, what-have-yous of all kinds.

Seemingly miles and miles of vases, pots, saucers, stands, what-have-yous of all kinds.

IMG_7496 IMG_7494 IMG_7497   IMG_7500   IMG_7499 IMG_7479IMG_7481

Can you say R-I-B-B-O-N?? Holy cow - wonder how many times around the Equator this represents?

Can you say R-I-B-B-O-N?? Holy cow – wonder how many times around the Equator this represents?

IMG_7485 After marveling at the excesses on both ends, I finally made it in to Area 3 – the grouping of smaller vendors and growers. A lot of the booths were empty, and although I was a little disappointed, I totally get it. It’s Saturday! People should be home, chilling with their families and friends. I’ll come back for the real hustle and bustle some other time. Before coming, I had imagined the frenzied merchant activity one might see in a Yokohama fish market, but this was decidedly calmer. Oh well, all the more opportunity to truly browse, and take it all in.

My first stop was a booth with orchids and air plants galore.

My first stop was a booth with orchids and air plants galore.

IMG_7505

Not sure if you can see this orchid through the plastic sleeve protecting it, but I was really intrigued by the bamboo-like stalks and the buds emerging from them.

Not sure if you can see this orchid through the plastic sleeve protecting it, but I was really intrigued by the bamboo-like stalks and the buds emerging from them.

I was lured across the isle by these marvelous shapes.

I was lured across the isle by these marvelous shapes.

This one was blooming - these adorable little chartreuse flowers!

This one was blooming – these adorable little chartreuse flowers!

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All the plants looked so wonderfully healthy.

Have no idea what this is, except gorgeous!

Have no idea what this is, except gorgeous!

There were also places where you could buy mossy and lichen-covered branches.

There were also places where you could buy mossy and lichen-covered branches…

... and branches of Flowering Quince.

… and branches of Flowering Quince.

IMG_7475

With Valentines Day around the corner, there were a few reminders of that too. I liked to see what I think is the use of Silver Brocade Artemisia in this heart-shaped wreath.

With Valentines Day around the corner, there were a few reminders of that too. I liked to see what I think is the use of Silver Brocade Artemisia in this heart-shaped wreath.

I really wasn't going to buy anything, but resistance is futile... sigh... Here is my haul: a Sansevieria trifasciata 'Bantel's sensation', a Senecio stapeliformis (the tag said S. longiflorus, but I don't believe it), a tiny Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf', an even smaller Aeonium castello-paives ( I think), and a Noid cactus with dark tips that match the Schwarzkopf beautifully.

I really wasn’t going to buy anything, but resistance is futile… sigh… Here is my haul: a Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Bantel’s sensation’, a Senecio stapeliformis (the tag said S. longiflorus, but I don’t believe it), a tiny Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’, an even smaller Aeonium castello-paives ( I think), and a NOID cactus with dark tips that echo the Schwarzkopf beautifully.

You know how you tend to live in your own little bubble, and you think plant people are just the most grounded and sane people on the planet? Well, this miracle, parked just a couple of spots over shattered that illusion - once and for all.  Nutbags are everywhere. For a while there, I almost forgot I was in Portlandia. My piece of mind, after leisurely losing myself in the Fun Palace for a couple of hours, was effectively disrupted, but I'm back to normal now.

You know how you tend to live in your own little bubble, and you think plant people are just the most grounded and sane people on the planet? Well, this miracle, parked just a couple of spots over, shattered that illusion – once and for all. Nutbags are everywhere! For a brief, blissful moment, I had almost forgotten I was in Portlandia,  but I’m back to normal now. 🙂

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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10 Responses to A first glance at the Portland Flower Market

  1. Alison says:

    Oh, that car. So sad. But the rest is fabulous! You must have been like a kid in a candy store! Not just the plants, but all those great containers too…I’m drooling.

  2. Kris P says:

    I could get lost in a market like that for hours, possibly days. Even though it was a Saturday, with Valentine’s Day a week away, I’m surprised there wasn’t a crowd.

    • annamadeit says:

      I have a feeling the wonder wears off after it becomes habitual. Most other people there seemed to get in, go for what they needed, and get out. I think I was the only one there for fun, but I know what you mean. I could totally get lost in there for hours too.

  3. bergstromskan says:

    How wonderful. I am so glad that you are treating yourself with fun like that. And to create an Indian environment, for what purpose, i wonder. Please keep me posted. Love, joy,

  4. Are you sure that van was there for the market? Just seems so wrong!

    I’ve been there once, some kind florist allowed me to come in and get some Monstera deliciosa leaves for wedding arrangements I was doing (for my own wedding). I remember being blown away by it all. I hear they’ve drastically tightened the rules on who can get in now, and I’m kind of surprised they let you take photos – thanks for sharing!

    • annamadeit says:

      It does seem wrong, doesn’t it? I’ll refrain from making any stereotype assumptions re: where it was parked, but it could happen. Some of the merchandise on that side made me wonder who buys that kind of stuff anymore… See – dammit – I did it! I judged – just like that… 😦 Anyway, how cool that you used Monstera leaves for your wedding! I had that camera hanging around my neck the entire time, and nobody said a word. We’ll see if I can get away with it next time – I want to experience it on a busier day.

  5. rickii says:

    My one visit was when I was doing work for Max & Hildy’s Garden Store. Bobby took a bunch of us with the mission of choosing three things each that we would like to see in the store. Difficult assignment, but what a blast! It looks a lot tidier and well organized than when I was there. A feast for all of the senses, even second-hand.

  6. annamadeit says:

    Oh Ricki, I would have had a hard time to come up with just three – there was so much to choose from! I got the feeling it all was pretty well organized, but then I wasn’t on a quest to find anything specific… I just wandered around until they kicked me out! 🙂

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