Tiny jasmine plants, sunny daffodils and an overwhelming scent of Spring. Columbia Road celebrates Easter with bargain flowers and plants of all colours, music, hundreds of chocolate bunnies.
Walking along Columbia Road, a couple hold an orchid and a bunch of peacock feathers. On the other side of the road, a family share the load of a gigantic orange plant while a group of young children carry plants three times their size.
Two young musicians bring a jazz vibe to the street. At the Vintage Café, which offers the street’s most tempting biscuits, decorated eggs and little nests with coloured birds inside rest on the tables.
Most of the traders at the Columbia Road Flower Market in Shoreditch are so busy there is no time to grab coffee before wrapping a bunch of rainbow-coloured flowers for their next customer. They sing the latest offers of the day like lullabies. Harnett, from Harnett and Son’s, who grows all her flowers in Stock, Essex, says the most popular flowers this Easter are “pansies, petunias, azaleas and lupines”.
It is very difficult to walk on the street: hundreds of flower enthusiasts are queuing at all the stalls, trying to purchase a perfumed souvenir from the market. It has been a rough winter, and an old man selling every possible bulb in the world gives gardening tips to his trusted clients.
George Gladwell, the Flower Market Representative, says: “If your garden is still frosted, you should not use bedding plants. Bulbs are OK. Tidy the garden up and make things look nice by discharging dead plants but always give them a chance to grow. Remember to buy new plants for your garden!”
At the Treacle Shop on Columbia Road, Easter is all about chocolate and bunnies. Hand-made chocolate cakes, traditional chocolate Easter eggs and mini cupcakes with duck-shape icings tempt visitors. For the non-chocolate fans, the shop sells British post-war era ceramics.
At four o’clock the traders begin to sound hoarse. Columbia Road Empties. The stalls finally close and the shoppers go home to enjoy their flowers. But the perfume of this market lingers on into a scented Sunday evening.