Customers can vote online for the best wholesaler

Entries have opened online for the first-ever Flower Market Awards to customers and wholesalers of New Covent Garden Flower Market.

Three major awards are up for grabs: Florist of the Year 2013, Plantpeople of the Year 2013 and Wholesaler of the Year 2013.

The winners stand to receive the Flower Market Awards trophy, online business profiles at newcoventgardenmarket.com and its media partners, plus the choice of an iPad 16GB with retina display or a commercial photoshoot worth over £400.

Helen Evans, head of business development at Covent Garden Market Authority, said: “Launching the Flower Market Awards gives us an exciting opportunity to publicly recognise and celebrate the dedication and achievements of people involved with New Covent Garden Flower Market.”

The judges of the wholesaler award are the customers of the Flower Market, because they “know their traders better than anyone”, said Evans.Voting is online at www.newcoventgardenmarket.com/flowers/awards.

The judging panel for the florist and plantpeople award is made up of an array of different industry specialists - Barry Porter, chairman of the Flower Market Tenants’ Association and co-owner of Porters Foliage, Caroline Marshall-Foster, editor of The Florist magazine, Rona Wheeldon, founder of the blog flowerona.com, and Helen Evans.

Entries and voting both close on 18 October. Winners and shortlisted entries will be revealed in the week beginning 18 November on the market’s website.

Judges are keen to emphasise that size is not an issue for the florist’s award nor does the nature of the flower business matter. Entrants could be a high street florist, contract florist or event florist buying from the Flower Market, with workshops employing one or many people. The only entry requirement is that candidates are customers of New Covent Garden.

Evans said: “What the judges are looking for is that special combination of business acumen and floristry expertise that separates one particular business from the competition.”

The plantpeople category is designed to recognise the work of interior and exterior landscapers, garden designers and gardeners, who source from New Covent Garden’s specialist plant wholesalers.

And voting for the wholesaler award is designed to reveal customers’ personal heroes among the market’s 30 wholesalers of flowers, foliage, plants and sundries. Online voters just have to click on their chosen wholesaler on the website and explain in Tweet format what makes that business special.