Deals always in bloom at big flower markets

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Deals always in bloom at big flower markets

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A child carries bags of potted flowers at Yangjae Flower Market. [NEWS1]

Korea is full of florists, but if you’re serious about using flowers to decorate your home, markets offer the best selection at the best prices.

As February has many school graduation ceremonies, flower markets are often full of good deals at this time of year.

Or, if you can’t wait until the warmer weather comes, the markets can - quite literally - also be a nice place just to stop and smell the flowers.

Yangjae Flower Market Center

Home to about 400 shops, Yangjae Flower Market Center, located in southern Seoul, is the country’s largest flower market in terms of sales. February to May is the busiest time of year for wholesale flower markets, so it’s best to do your research before visiting.

Most of the customers at Yangjae are wholesalers who buy their flowers in bulk at auctions twice a day - 1 a.m. for fresh cut flowers and 8 a.m. for potted plants.

About 300 million won, or $280,000, is spent at the auctions daily, but ordinary customers can also purchase a bouquet or two here.

The entrance to the market is well marked, with signs pointing to underground stores, potted plants and fresh-cut flowers.

If you want to witness the flower auctions, head to the building at the main entrance’s right.

Yangjae Flower Market Center also gets a lot of school field trips where teachers educate their students on the names of plants and how they are raised.

The opening hours of each building is different. The venue for fresh-cut flowers opens from midnight to 1 p.m, while the second floor, which sells pots, vases and artificial flowers, opens from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. It closes on Sundays.

The greenhouse for potted plants is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, the underground arcades are closed on alternate Sundays. The stalls for bouquets and wreathes are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, although 80 stallholders alternately take Sundays off. For more information, visit yfmc.at.or.kr or call (02) 579-8100 (Korean only).

Namdaemun Flower Market

Namdaemun Flower Market is excellent for people who want to look at flowers up close but find giant markets like Yangjae overwhelming.

The narrow pathways that customers walk along may be inconvenient for those with large bags full of flowers, but the experience is still enjoyable, especially because you have no choice but to walk on the petals that cover much of the ground.

Yangjae market may be cheaper for flowers, but Namdaemun Flower Market was the first of its kind in Korea, having been in business since the 1960s. Compared to Yangjae market, it has fewer people, although parking can be inconvenient in this part of town - especially for people who buy flowers in bulk.

Namdaemun Flower Market is open Monday to Thursday from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Friday and Saturdays until 4 p.m.

The market is closed on Sundays and public holidays. For more information, call (02) 777-1709 (Korean only).

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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