PURPLISH PINK hydrangeas. Burgundy snapdragons. Sky-blue irises. A Saturday morning visit to the wholesale flower market in downtown Los Angeles ensures a colorful start to a weekend. Bunches of blooms are sold at bargain prices, but you have to get an early start--the market is open only from 6 a.m. to noon (vendors remain open a little later on Saturday, until 1 p.m.), though the action actually starts to wind down by about 8:30 a.m. If picking flowers makes you hungry, the Flower Market Coffee Shop is open from 5:30 to 9:45 a.m. on Saturdays for breakfast.
On a recent Saturday morning at the Southern California Flower Market building on the west side of the street, Miwa Floral was selling long pussy willow branches, irises and daffodils. At San Lorenzo, which always has a large selection and a friendly staff, there were large and small tulips, snapdragons and a wide variety of cacti and potted plants. In the same building, Tayama Wholesale Florist is the stop for orchids, anthuriums, gingers and other exotics.
At the Los Angeles Flower Market of American Florists Exchange Ltd. across the street (where most vendors post prices for easy self-service), nearly everywhere you look, you'll see a rainbow of statice, mums and stock. Try Petals of Paradise Tropical Wholesale Specialist for tropicals and exotics, and, in season, ask at Groen Rose Co. for pots of those purplish pink hydrangeas.