Waves of dahlias coming into bloom in vibrant shades of aubergine, magenta and gold; rare and seemingly petal-perfect garden roses; fields upon fields of full, luscious peonies. Romantic visions such as these have long been associated with exotic flower-growing locales, like the Netherlands, Ecuador or Colombia, but in the Northwest, these dreamy scenes are becoming a reality as a new wave of growers bring spectacular locally grown flowers to market—and their floral design skills, too.
The Emerald City is no stranger to the farm-to-table movement, with revered chefs like Matt Dillon and Tom Douglas proudly sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and even their own plots. But the “farm-to-vase” concept has been slower to catch on. Florists such as Katherine Anderson of Capitol Hill’s Marigold and Mint cite the opening of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market in 2011 as a pivotal factor in bringing locally grown blooms (aside from those offered in bouquets at the Pike Place Market) to prominence, first among florists, and then with the public. This farmers’ collective proffers seasonal flowers to florists, wholesale buyers and the public (Friday afternoons only), grown throughout Oregon, Washington and Alaska, often at less expensive prices than imported or out-of-season flowers.