I had never been inside New Covent Garden Flower Market before and really enjoyed listening to Helen Evans, director of business development and support as she told us all about imported plants, sundries, plant buying, problems with the existing building and the plans to relocate to the other side of the road near the fruit market.
Flower prices are, of course cheaper and fresher at NCGFM than from your local supermarket where they sit just inside the entrance doors batting to stay alive as the temperature changes by the minute. Anyone can shop at the market – you buy by wraps (bunches) and pay by the stem +VAT. It's option anxiety. I was really impressed by how many other things are available, not just plants – there are pots, planters, lights, ribbons, driftwood, fake flowers, architectural elements galore – anything you might need to make a display.
From there we wandered eastwards and heard about the The Promenade of Curiosities which will create a pedestrian walk linking Nine Elms through The Pleasure Gardens and all the way east to Lower Marsh. We stopped off half way for tea and scrummy cakes at the beautifully renovated Tea House Theatre, formerly the rather down market Queen Anne pub. Then along Vauxhall Walk and across Black Prince Road to look at the construction of Damien Hirst's new art gallery in Newport Street (bottom right) which I will probably write something scathing about when it opens (!).