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behind the scenes: carlsbad wholesale flower market with adrianne smith

Last Friday I took the day off to help my friend—and favorite florist—Adrianne Smith, prepare for one of her craziest days of the year: Valentine’s Day. We started off bright and early at the Carlsbad International Floral Trade Center, where Adrianne took me on a quick tour of the facility. It was bustling with energy and excitement, and many of the vendors we chatted with had been awake for more than 24 hours straight getting ready for this busy day.

Adrianne pre-ordered most of her supplies, so they were ready at various vendors’ stalls for us to wheel out to the car when we were finished with our tour.

Guess how many flowers we fit in Adrianne’s car? Well, I don’t know exactly, but I do know that if we had picked up one more bunch I may have had to walk home. I even carried some on my lap and A had some shoved between the seats. When we got back to her studio it took three of us about two hours just to unload the car and process all the stems.

I learned so much about the floral industry hanging out with A. Did you know that “fillers” and greenery can cost as much, if not more, than many flowers? She even taught me a few secrets to making a beautiful (and lasting) arrangement: soak floral foam before you cut it; trim stems on an angle; tulips will continue to grow after they are cut, so cut them shorter than the rest of an arrangement; design from the edges in to the center; texture is the key to an interesting bouquet; add water every day so the foam doesn’t dry out.

Isn’t it amazing how buckets of flowers, big sticks, bits of mossy goodness and bunches of wild greens can be transformed into stunning arrangements like this one? It still seems like magic to me, even after spending a day in the studio and watching the process first hand.

I’m in awe of this lady. Thank you, Adrianne, for letting me peek into your world for a day.

Photos by Erika Firm; Floral designs by Adrianne Smith Floral Design

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