A huge and exotic array of Tet flowers are lining Nghi Tam street in the capital city of Hanoi and attracting quite a crowd.

The road is the main supply route for flowers in Hanoi and people are flocking there to pick out the most colourful and beautiful for their home ahead of the New Year.

Currently prices remain normal, but in the next couple of days they will start to rise fast, says flower grower Nguyen Thi Tam, who has worked at the market for many years.

"The price will be higher during days close to Tet," she warns. "One week is still left before the holiday and the market is receiving many visitors everyday as they come to check different prices and buy pre-Tet flowers."

Flower festivals and markets throughout the capital are in currently in full blossom and doing their utmost to cater to the rising demand.

On January 31, a flower show and trade fair honouring craft villages and high-quality agricultural produce was kicked off at the Centre for Art and Cultural Exhibitions at 2 Hoa Lu Street . It will run until February 5.

One of the highlights of the event is an exhibition of various kinds of flowers including orchids, daisies, peach blossoms and kumquats from the city's well-known flowers villages. The flowers are on sale at the festival for a reasonable and negotiable price.

As well as the flowers, nearly 100 calligraphic works are also on display at the event and there are 200 stalls selling traditional products and quality farm produce from Hanoi 's different villages and regions. These include lotus-scented tea from West Lake , milk products of Ba Vi, orange from Hoai Duc and organic vegetables.

"The festival aims to honour the traditional villages in Hanoi and the Song Hong ( Red River ) Delta, as well as welcoming the 2013 Red River Delta National Tourism Year," says Vuong Duy Bien, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and head of the organising board.

"It not only highlights the best products from craft villages but also serves people's shopping needs for Tet, the year's biggest traditional celebration," he adds.

According to Trinh The Khiet, president of Hanoi Farmers' Association, this is also an opportunity for artisans from traditional villages to exchange and introduce initiatives in the field of rural industries, contributing to the promotion of trade in traditional villages and the consumption of agricultural products provided by Hanoi farmers.

In HCM City, the Nguyen Hue Boulevard Floral Exhibition will celebrate its 10th anniversary and welcome local and international visitors on February 7.

While the flower street is taking shape, other areas in the city, including Binh Quoi and Van Thanh tourist parks and Sai Gon New Port in District 7, have set up flower markets already.
Organisers say that all flower decorations on Nguyen Hue will be completed by February 5.

During the past decade, the flower street has had different designs, decoration and themes.

This year, the theme is "The Heart of Vietnam". There will be several sections, titled Spring in the Highlands, Spring in the Plains and Spring on the Islands.
As in previous years, the zodiac symbol of the Lunar New Year, which this time around is the snake, will be placed at the entry of the road.

For the Spring on the Islands section, a seven-metre boat full of flowers will represent an abundant fishing season.

The Spring in the Highlands section will showcase the cultural diversity of the Highlands region through its musical instruments, such as the Paranung drum, and different kinds of gongs made of flowers.

The section Spring in the Plains will include a big waterfall decorated with flowers and huge rocks brought from the central highlands city of Da Lat.-VNA