Fragrance of Mexican Flower Markets

The Flower Market in Mexico.—Under the shadow of the cathedral is the flower market, rendering the whole neighborhood fragrant in the early mornings with the perfume it exhales, while it delights the eye with hillocks of bright color. This market is in an iron pavilion covered in part with glass, the lovely goods presided over by nut-brown women and pretty Indian girls. Barbaric as the Aztecs were, they had a true love and tenderness for flowers, using them freely in their religious rites, a taste which three hundred years and more of oppression, together with foreign and civil wars, has not served to extinguish. The most abundant specimens of the floral kingdom one meets with here are red and white roses, very finely developed, pinks of all colors, violets, mignonette, heliotrope, scarlet and white poppies, pansies and forget-me-nots. Such flowers were artistically mingled in large bouquets, with a delicate backing of maiden-hair fern, and sold for fifteen cents each. There is no fixed tariff" of prices, strangers naturally paying much more than the residents, and the sum first demanded being usually double what will be finally received,— a manner of trade which is by no means confined to the Spanish-speaking races. It must be remembered that although these are cultivated flowers, still they bloom out-of-doors all the year round. The women venders emulate their lovely wares in the color they assume in their costumes. The dahlia, we are told, first came from the valley of Mexico. The universal love of flowers finds expression in the houses, not only of the rich, but in those of the very humble poor, all over the town and the environs.
The Friend, Volume 64

These cities are fascinatingly quaint and foreign, with their beautiful churches, their lovely little parks, jardins and plazas, as they are called, and the interesting markets, so characteristic of Mexico. In every city there is to be found a wonderful flower-market, where soft-voiced Mexican women sell you gorgeous bouquets of roses, great golden narcissus, and fragrant gardenias; and a Thieves' Market, which is a junkshop on a gigantic scale; stolen and second-hand articles of every conceivable description are brought here to be sold, and here congregate the most picturesque and typical of the city's inhabitants.
Two bird-lovers in Mexico
By William Beebe

Our first visit Easter Sunday is to the flower market. It seems as if all the flowers in all the world are here to announce the Easter day, the risen Christ. Tall Easter lilies, stately calas, gorgeous roses, fragrant jasmine, and violet and heliotrope, make the flower-lover long to buy more than she can carry, for flowers are cheap in Mexico. As the flower market is in the shadow of the cathedral, only a few steps bring us to the main entrance of the beautiful building whose aspiring towers and stately walls have been mellowed by the changing seasons of two centuries.
Travel, Volume 13
By New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company. Passenger Dept

No part of a Mexican market is more interesting than the booth, or it may be only a little corner, devoted to flowers. In the large cities the flower market is dignified with a time and place of its own.
The people who buy the flowers and the poor who may only stand and gaze with that look of beautyhunger in their eyes which one often sees among the poor, are quite as interesting as the flowers themselves.
The flowers of San Luis Potosi are rich and varied. There were great clusters of scarlet poppies, white poppies beautiful as drifts of snow, roses, candytuft, nasturtiums, lilies, pinks, a great variety of zinnias, great bunches and hanks of pansies in all their dewy splendor and a wonderful variety of immortelles.
A tour in Mexico

Flowers of almost innumerable varieties, from the gorgeous orchid of quaint and curious form and wonderful combination of colors, to the modest daisy, violet and tuberose, grow wild and in extravagant profusion all the year round, the range of altitudes meeting the requirements of all the members of the floral kingdom. The flower markets of Mexico Citv, which are chiefly supplied from the Chinampas or historic "floating gardens" established by the Aztecs on the surface of lake Tuxcoco before the coming of the Spaniards, are among the objects of interest most enjoyed bv the visiting tourist, and eloquently testify to the beauty and brilliancy of the Mexican flora. This countrv has been deservedly named "the land of flowers," for everywhere and all the year there are flowers of every hue and color.
The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10
By Frederick Converse Beach, George Edwin Rines
The Mexicans arrange their flowers in bouquets and sets or pieces of the most marvelous floral architecture. At many of the stations on the railway are sold bouquets of jessamines arranged in large pyramids. Each flower is put on a twig, the twigs bound together around a nice smooth stick, which serves as a handle, some are arranged on palm or banana leaves like a fan with the same style of stick for a handle.
A very neat arrangement that is offered for sale at the stations is the stock of a banana tree or something of that nature. It is cut about a foot long, and the pulp center is hollowed out; then it is filled with jessamines. The ends are closed and wrapped with fibre and a handle is made of the same material, and there is a little trap door in the side with fibre hinges giving an opportunity to take the blossoms out one at a time. The moist, dark interior preserves the flowers a long time and when carried the tube looks about like a roll of music, in the usual covers.
But the funeral pieces which are found in the flower markets axe truly remarkable. There is every kind of figure, but the most common is the wreath; but its size! Think of wreaths four or five feet in diameter. They are not made on wire frames, but have a solid foundation, stuffed with straw, held in shape by coarse netting, into which are thrust the smaller flowers, then on one side is tied with bright colored ribbons an immense bunch of some large flowers, such as calla lilies or something of that nature. Such pieces certainly denote extreme devotion. Throughout the country a great many beautiful flowers grow wild, calla lilies, most gorgeous poppies and flowers of every size and hue, until one might think the whole country one great flower garden; or that the country was in preparation for a great national flower show.
Spain's lost jewels: Cuba and Mexico
By Thomas Rees

The Plaza Major, as before said, is the center of the city in every sense of the word. It is fully one thousand feet square and is beautifully laid out. In the center is the Zocalo, screened with groups of orange-trees, shrubbery, and flowers. Here, in a circular music stand, the military band gives concerts four times weekly, in the afternoon and evening. At the western side of the Zocalo is the flower market, whose perfume fills the atmosphere and whose beauty delights the eye. The market is presided over by pretty native girls, who importune you to buy the choice nosegays, and seldom is their entreaty in vain. The ancient Aztec was an intense lover of flowers; he used them in all his ceremonies, even to those of the sacrifice; the modern native has lost none of his affection for these beautiful emblems, and uses them on every occasion. The most abundant flowers seen here are red and white roses, pinks of various colors, heliotrope, violets, poppies, both white and scarlet, and forget-me-nots. These flowers are artistically arranged in large bouquets, with a backing of maiden-hair ferns, and are sold for fifteen cents each. The price, however, is not fixed, and one may easily purchase a bouquet for half the sum first named.
A naturalist in Mexico: being a visit to Cuba, northern Yucatan and Mexico
By Frank Collins Baker

On the lakes there are regular, man-propelled packets, which make trips from village to village and into the City of Mexico itself, bearing grain, vegetables and flowers. Tons on tons of flowers are brought into the markets of the city daily, for these are a flower-loving people, and Mexico is a blossom-laden land. Along the Viga Canal are located the famous floating gardens, or chinampas, from which Montezuma drew his supplies for the royal tables in Tenochtitlan. They still supply the vegetable, fruit and flower markets of the city, and the men whc work them are descendants of the Aztec gardeners who made them famous four hundred years ago.
The Rudder, Volume 25
edited by Thomas Fleming Day