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Flower Show devotees are filling up the Convention Center to get a look at the displays and plot their gardens. Water ice shops will open next week. Snow piles be damned, spring is coming. But with the city still thawing after the snow-sleet storm Stella, it’s worth asking: Where do Philly florists get their flowers from when it’s this cold?
Many Center City florists said they rely on area farms in the summer, but through distributors like South Jersey firm Delaware Valley Floral Group, their shops stay stocked with brightly colored roses, tulips, lilies and more from Holland and South America. Here’s how five Philly florists stay stocked in the winter:
Avanda, 401 S. 16th St. (16th and Pine)
Owner Timm Jamavan said their current flowers come from Holland, South America, California and Canada. The store’s name was inspired by vanda orchids. In the winter, there isn’t a particular bud that she likes selling over others: “Each week’s different.”
Flowers & Company, 119 S. 19th St. (19th and Sansom)
A good portion of Flowers & Company’s current stock comes from the Delaware Valley. Dana Muerdler, a floral designer there, said many of their current plants were grown in area nurseries. Plus, “we have one sweet lady who grows these quince branches, so we buy those from here,” said Muerdler. “We definitely try to support local nurseries and farms. There’s some great co-ops in the city now too.” Still, a lot of their flowers at the moment were imported from Ecuador and Colombia.
Carl Alan Floral Designs, 1700 Market St. (17th and Market)
Imports at the Carl Alan Floral Designs studio right now hail from mostly Holland and South America. “Whether it’s South America, whether it’s Holland, whether it’s Israel, whether it’s from here— I don’t care. I just like flowers that are beautiful and last long,” said owner Carl Schwartz, who’s run the business since 1966. “I could be very cute and tell you I like to sell what people like to buy. But you know what I love to sell? Roses. I love roses. They’re my all-time favorite flower,” he said. “We could buy them cheap and we could sell them for $4, $5 a dozen. We would buy them in bulk… You’d walk into a room of roses, and the guy would tell you, ‘I’ll sell you the room for a nickel a rose or dime a rose.’”
Market Blooms in Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St. (12th and Filbert)
Much of their summertime offerings come from their farm in Paulsboro, N.J. But in the winter? “Some of it comes from local greenhouses, but right now most of it’s imported,” said Marie Sullivan, a florist at Market Blooms. Top importing locations: California and South America.
George Baker Flowers, 1607 Latimer St. (16th and Latimer)
“For Valentine’s, we had these sweet peas that were this tall,” said Heidi Bleacher, the shop’s co-owner, as she opened her hands by maybe a foot. “They were from Japan.” George Baker Flowers imports from the usual suspects like Ecuador and Peru, but they also pride themselves on nabbing plants that you don’t see everyday. David Huntzinger, who co-owns the shop, pulls out some hyacinths (from Holland) as an example. Hyacinths, you see, but bright yellow hyacinths? You can’t get those everywhere.