The fuller picture

An interview with Marcel Vletter of The Flower Connection

10 Apr 2019

We adore working with Marcel at Leeds wholesaler The Flower Connection. He has such a passion for beautiful flowers and is a font of knowledge especially when it comes to the latest exciting varieties and colours. Here he shares some of his expertise and inspiration:

What inspired you to follow a career with flowers?

I was very lucky to grow up in Holland surrounded by fields of tulips, lilies and hyacinths. I helped my family on the land from the age of 4 so from a very young age I learnt to appreciate not just how flowers look but how they grow and what conditions are needed to make the strongest and most appealing blooms. My background has definitely helped me source good suppliers around the world in places where I know the climate will be just right for developing the best flowers at any particular time of year.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love being able to inspire florists with my suggestions and ideas. I see lots of new colours and varieties being developed that I can’t wait to tell people about. In November I visited a grower in Holland who has developed a new garden rose in a very elegant nude colour. This flower is so special and will be fabulous for weddings. There is such a lot of innovation going on in the flower world at the moment and it’s incredibly exciting.

I also enjoy the fast pace. There are two sides to my job, one of which is making sure our vans are loaded up daily with all our fresh flower orders for deliveries to florists right across Yorkshire. The other is to offer advice and expertise which often means answering calls about whether a particular flower will be available at a certain time of year for a wedding or special event. It’s very satisfying to be able to share my knowledge in this way.

You handle lots of different flowers every day but what is your personal favourite?

I am a real fan of the oriental lily. I come from a family of tulip growers and lily breeders and I don’t think you can beat the lily for its elegance, richness of colour and all-round beauty. Working with roses so much has given me a huge appreciation of them as well and I think the way they open out from a tiny bud into a huge ball of petals is quite incredible.

Can you share some of the latest trends with us?

Scent is a huge trend at the moment and a lot of growers are concentrating on this, especially garden rose breeders who are developing some lovely varieties especially for their perfume. I am delighted that the fascination with garden roses is continuing because this is creating lots of experimentation and the development of some huge multi-petalled rose breeds which look amazing when they’re in full bloom. When the flowers leave here they are all closed up so I like to keep an eye on Instagram to see the florist’s photos when they are fully open in all their glory. I also use my own Instagram @theflowerconnectionleeds to share pictures of some of the most interesting flowers we have available. I never use filters so that florists can see exactly what the flower looks like.

Is blush still the go-to colour for weddings?

Soft pastel coloured peonies and large-headed multi-petalled roses are still very much on trend for weddings teamed with fragrant silvery eucalyptus cinerea. Yes it’s true, brides absolutely love nude and blush tones, pale lilacs and vintage pinks and it’s easy to see why as they are so understated and romantic. With the 2019 Pantone colour being ‘Living Coral’ we are expecting quite a demand for a wide range of coral shades in the months ahead.

A huge thank-you to Marcel for sharing his thoughts and advice with us. We love his pic too!

All floral images are by Olivia Brabbs Photography

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