One of the only things that will get me out of bed before 6 AM, besides hot coffee, is a trip to the flower market.

Especially when it’s for THE flower market of all flower markets - in Chelsea, NYC.

I’ve wanted to visit for years, especially after learning florals from the gals at Little Flower School Brooklyn (Saipua and Nicolette Owen) who source gorgeous and difficult-to-find product from vendors in Chelsea. But I had a lot of questions, and I wasn’t even sure I would be able to get in without a NY sales tax license. I found it difficult to find information online, which is why I’m writing a guide for those, like me, who want to know where to go and what they can expect to find.

If you're a florist or fellow flower-lover, it is definitely worth a visit. I was absolutely floored by the selection of colors, unique varieties, and vast amount of options that were at my fingertips.

The Chelsea Flower Market is laid out much differently than other cities' wholesalers such as Boston and Los Angeles. Instead of being inside a large warehouse, the vendors are set up in their own shops, lining W. 28th street in Chelsea.

Since I was flying out from JFK airport at night, my family went up a day earlier and booked a hotel situated in the middle of W. 28th Street. The boys decided to sleep in while the girls (my mom, sister and I) woke up early to get first glimpses of the beauties.

When the alarm went off at 6 AM, we walked outside and were right in the midst of it. It was a tangle of bushes, plants, branches, floral boxes, textures. We were immediately giddy, honestly.

The first spot that we went to is the one that has been on my radar for a long time - Dutch Flower Line.

The building itself is full of character and charm, with an amazing music selection (obviously important), charming tiled floors and light fixtures, and gruff but good-humored new yorkers moving everything along.

There was a little jungle of plants upstairs and the downstairs was lined with every color and texture of flower a florist could possibly want.

Although I was blown away by the selection of flowers, what really got me was the colors they were available in!

For example, the sweet peas below, in these indescribable hues.

The highlights for me at Dutch Flower Line were all of the flowering branches, their large selection of Japanese product and of course - those sweet peas.

We weren't buying for a wedding or event so we had to restrain ourselves and muster up a huge dose of self control, however we did walk out with an armful of ruffly Japanese lisianthus and multi-toned pink ranunculus.

We spent at least an hour perusing Dutch Flower Line and setting up our account (to which they do accept other state's licenses), and at that point, had worked up an appetite for coffee.

We made our way to Variety, a coffeeshop we had spotted the night before, only a few blocks from the market.

We spent our coffee break chatting about all of the amazing flowers we had just witnessed and anxious to get back to see more!

My sister Britney put it perfectly when she said, "Don't you just want to crowd surf all of the flowers?"

We headed back to the flower market to hit our next spot, J. Rose.

The name is a bit misleading, because this is not the best wholesaler to go to for roses, however, they had a great variety of blooms and we saw some different flowers than we had seen at Dutch Flower Line - hellebores, dahlias, more anemones and sweet peas in new colors... the list goes on. We were enamored once again.

Next, we visited G. Page, which had the best selection of foliage and textural pieces, such as artichokes, kumquats, berries, in addition to their awesome floral selection.

They were also selling Southern Smilax, which I've sometimes struggled to find for events, and the good news is that they deliver!

At G. Page, they also had a wide selection of hellebore plants outside, which reminded me so much of the flower shops of Paris.

We walked around a few of the stores selling plants and foliage, like Foliage Garden. It felt like a little piece of the tropics, set in the middle of wintry NYC.

The final floral spot that we really enjoyed was A Rose by Harvest, which only specializes in imported roses. (Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures in here.) It was so much fun seeing colors of roses in real life, that for the most part, I've only seen online.

Although Ecuadorian-imported roses really can't compare to locally grown / farm-raised garden roses, some of the colors like toffee, cafe latte, or golden mustard look so rich in bridal color palettes!

Shown above are the fluffy Japanese lisis we bought at Dutch Flower Line.

Aside from flower wholesalers, the Chelsea Flower Market also has suppliers of vases, containers and silk/faux flowers and plants.

My biggest disappointment is that I have yet to find a floral wholesaler that also sells beautiful raw silk ribbons. I have a few favorite sellers online, but I look forward to the day when we can purchase these from wholesalers!

It was probably good that I was visiting hours before hopping on a plane to fly across the world, because otherwise, I would've been tempted to buy more than my pocketbook could afford.

It was such a rich experience, and it makes me appreciate floral design even more, knowing that there is constantly new product to be found and discovered, whether foraged from the side of the highway or found in the markets of NYC.

Floral trends and colors are constantly evolving and it trickles down from new farm varieties to a florist's studio to the creations being held in the arms of a bride.

I love that I share this love and excitement for flowers and floral design with my mom and sis.

Experiencing the Chelsea Flower Market with them was a unique experience that I'll alway cherish. And now that we've visited, I'm certain we'll be back again!

Favorite Flower Shops

- Dutch Flower Line

- J. Rose

- G. Page

- A Rose by Harvest

Nearby Coffeeshop

- Variety

Floral photography by Mountain Gap Photography and Lefont Events
Journal photography by Courtney Di Trolio