For the first time in 150 years a flower market has bloomed in West London. Co-directors Ollie Saunders, Karen Liebreich and Bridget Osborne have set up Chiswick Flower Market with the help of volunteers in Chiswick High Road. Any profits are invested straight back into the market and the local community: the hope is to get the local economy back on its feet.
The market aims to attract a wide consumer range – from avid gardeners to homebodies seeking a pot plant or two – and so stalls are curated to show off a variety of plants. “We’ve very deliberately gone for a mix,” Osborne is quoted as saying, “so we’ve got bedding plants, cut flowers, house plants, and we’ve even got a couple of dried flower [sellers]as well.” 20 traders have already signed up and there is now a waiting list for spots in the stalls.
Though the market’s opening was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown restrictions, the situation in which it will operate may actually be better than before. Organisers of the market hope to capitalise on the passion for gardening many people discovered confinement.
“Suddenly everyone was locked down at home, all the garden centres were closed and everyone wanted plants,” Steve Burridge, one of the markets’ stallholders, is quoted as saying. “It was one of the new lockdown hobbies, so even people that didn’t garden before were suddenly gardening.”
In a post-Covid era the market offers several safety measures: the surrounding roads are painted with markings to remind shoppers to social distance, and volunteers on bikes will be on hand to deliver purchases to nearby homes for free. A plant crèche is even available on-site for visitors to leave their bulkier items and have a walk around Chiswick, which happens to be home for one of the earliest examples of English landscape gardening, at Chiswick House.
Chiswick Flower Market opened on the 6th of September and will thereafter take place on the first Sunday of every month (October 4, November 1 and December 6). More information on the Chiswick Flower Market can be found here.