Say the words “open-air flower market” to any Londoner, and their mind is going straight to Columbia Road Flower Market, whose unquestioned dominance is akin to that of, say, the Soviet Union’s feared ice hockey team. But last year, an upstart emerged, hoping for their own Miracle on Ice – for Chiswick Flower Market, which returns to town on May 2, is the first new open-air flower market in London for 150 years.
Like any young pretender worth their salt, Chiswick Flower Market were bullish about their ambitions, proudly flaunting their desire to be “the Columbia Road of the West”. And clearly, Chiswick is crying out for a flower market to supplement their lineup of incredible places, including coffee shops hidden in phone booths and outrageously sweet bakeries. The arrival of the flower market last year provided a boost to local traders and independent businesses along the Chiswick High Road, so it’s wonderful to see it return.
Though Chiswick Flower Market is a recent addition, the chosen site has a proud history: Market Place, though used primarily as a car park over the past fifty years, was once the beating heart of Chiswick, and hopefully will be once again. Chiswick itself has played an important role in horticulture through the years; it’s widely accepted as the birthplace of the English landscape movement, was the site of the Horticultural Society’s first gardens, and is home to the UK’s oldest camellias.
Chiswick House & Gardens are playing a key role in the market, whilst existing flower stalls in the area have been given prime spots in the new market. Meanwhile, local garden centres Wheelers, Chiswick Horticultural and Allotment Society, and London House Plants will also be running stalls. Here, you can buy locally-grown and exotically-sourced flora, including bedding plants, house plants, terrariums, cut flowers, seeds and bulbs, fruiting trees, pots, and gardening accessories. The market also espouses a strong commitment to sustainability, in the form of plastic-free, peat-free, and grown-your-own products.
Though Chiswick Flower Market only had a handful of markets before the winter lockdowns came into effect, it was enough to get locals and visitors alike excited about the floral fancies, with a reported 18,000 people visiting the September, November, and December editions. After the May 2 grand reopening, the market is expected to take place on the first Sunday of every month throughout the year, although it remains to be seen if the seasonal themes of last year’s markets will continue into 2021. One thing that is confirmed, however, is that the profits will be ploughed back into regenerating the economy of Chiswick High Road, which is jolly nice.
All in all, it looks as though Chiswick Flower Market has more than enough to keep Columbia Road looking nervously over its shoulder…
Article Source: Secret London