A Trip to the Market, No.8 in our series #romancingthehomesundays


1945 – Multiflora’s humble beginnings

When “A trip to the Market” came up as a topic for our series, I thought this is utterly perfect. I had my 40th coming up and I was in major need of a shopping spree at the Market.

I know ordinarily, you would expect a trip to the market to be one which is more of a family outing, craft shopping, food, music…you get the picture.

However, I am fortunate enough to work not far from our local and largest Market in Johannesburg.

Multiflora had humble beginnings…

The idea of a centralised flower market seemed utterly far-fetched in the early 1940s, but four out-of-the-box thinkers didn’t agree. On July 13, 1944, Jacob Toxopeus, GC van der Merwe, Willie Stock (who cleverly came up with the name Multiflora), and Jochem Toxopeus got together to decide on the basic structure of the company which, today, is the core of the South African flower industry.

Here are some really interesting facts about the market, that has me absolutely fascinated!

With some 600 flower growers on its books, Multiflora is the largest flower auction house in Africa with a staff of 144 people hustling to keep pace with the frenetic action of the daily auctions.

At least 80% of the flowers on auction at Multiflora are grown within 300km of Johannesburg. The rest comes from the Cape, Natal and the northern regions of the country, as well as from as far afield as Kenya, Zimbabwe and other African countries.

The auctions, which are held from Mondays to Saturdays from 7 am, are attended by some 400 florists and wholesalers. The wholesalers then distribute the fresh flowers to almost every city, town and village in South Africa and, in some cases, export the blooms to other countries. Some of the wholesalers have retail outlets in the Multiflora Flower Hall and sell directly to florists and members of the public. Other services offered include creating gorgeous bouquets and packaging for supermarkets.

The price on the clock is set high by the auctioneer. This rotates lower as the buyer who first presses his button stops the clock at the price he intends to pay. This also lets the auctioneer know the number of containers he wishes to buy.

This just fascinates me, I have been going to the market for years but have never know what all these “what I thought were clocks” meant…

There is a stunning little shop just at the entrance to Grandi Flora . It is called  POT PLANTS DIRECT.(011 610 1134) They sell the most wonderful pot plants and I have to say that over the years I have earned my Landscape discount. It’s always a chuckle as they often ask if I have a nursery?… I laugh back saying no “I just have a problem…a plant problem”. Just cant seems to help myself!

Top Tip: If you are willing to wait, and I say that discerning, as patience is certainly not a virtue for me. Buying seedling trays will save you a lot of money. Especially when you are growing hedges. To buy a large plant ie: Buxus, Duranta for hedging can cost you up to R40-80 per plant for a 6-litre bag. Buying a seedling tray can cost you around R6per plant. See where I am going with this?

Back to my shopping spree…

My blog post a few weeks back was all about Table scapes. Being my BIG 40! I had to go all out! I wanted roses! Lots of them!

The week before the party I had gone to the market to buy a bunch for styling a shoot and almost had a mini heart attack! A bunch of Roses were around R300!!!

OMG!!! I was freaking out! R300 a bunch was surely going to be a game changer as I had intended on bunches and bunches for the party.

To my delight the week of the party, due to the beautiful hot weather and our local flower growers, roses now were at an affordable R38 a bunch…yes I said R38!

So this happened!…..

Lol!!! I could not help myself! R38!!!!!!!

So I landed up with way more than I needed!

I was literally like a kid in a candy store!

The only advice I would give while shopping is picking your vendor wisely, AMP Flowers & Accessories (011 869-4057) shop NO.5 is really your best bet!

Flowers are fresh and really the quality is exceptional. Might not always be the cheapest but nothing worse than thinking you got a bargain, and only to find a bunch of rotten flowers!

Anyway enough babbling…hope you enjoyed!

Ps: there is this super cute coffee shop that serves the lovely cakes and coffee… a little treat to spoil your self. After all, shopping is hard work!

Be sure to see more from the #romancingthehome ladies and all things roses

Talia My Shabby Shack

Stacy saw Dust And High Heels

Liz Keep It French SA