The importance of garden centres for us Brits became evermore apparent through the trying times of Covid. Ideally, they’re our one-stop-shop for everything we need for our gardens. Somewhere you go to begin a complete garden renovation, or when you just want one new planter, some extra bulbs, and a new hand fork. Most importantly, you’re there for plants and gardening equipment.
But that’s not all, you want good quality products, service you can trust, and an inviting atmosphere. It’s important to find a good garden centre so that you can produce and maintain a good garden!
With that in mind, we’ve outlined everything you should expect from a good garden centre, so you know what to look out for and have the best overall outcome when working on your green space. After all, our gardens are our pride and joy. Our safe, outdoor refuge that rejuvenates and oxygenates the soul. They deserve the finest treatment.
First and foremost, any garden centre worth your time ought to have a broad variety of different plants to choose from. It’s not unreasonable to want some succulents for the house, a range of perennials, and a tree, all from one trip. After all, where else are you going to get these things?
You could source your plants online, but you never know how much delivery is going to cost or what condition the plant life will come in. Even if the online shop is reputable, many of us would rather choose the specific plant out of the available stock of that type. That way we can know we’ve chosen the best one.
That brings us nicely to the next, crucial characteristic of a good garden centre – the quality of the plants. You don’t want to have to bring a plant from the centre back to life. Not on the day, and not a short couple of weeks after purchase.
Of all places, plants at a plant centre ought to appear bright and healthy. That way you know they’re well cared for, and won’t have trouble relocating themselves into your garden or home. You do not want to find yourself out searching for a replacement batch of peonies only weeks after purchasing some.
Another gardening essential is compost. It’s not just the plants you’re after, it’s the right compost to put them in. After all, what good is a wonderful border display if you haven’t got good bedding for its inhabitants. A good garden centre will have an array of composts, suitable for all your plants and certainly the plants they sell.
It’s not just plants you’re there to get. You want to be able to purchase all the equipment you need to adequately plant, seed, sow, hoe, pot, saw, or anything else. A garden centre well stocked with gardening tools and equipment as well as plants, means you won’t have to search for another one when you realise you really need an edging tool.
A good sign that a shop is stocking and taking care of high quality products, is if they have a guarantee on their items. If a plant has a long guarantee (of course this will depend on the plant) you’ll know you can trust the plants are healthy. The business would be unlikely to place such guarantees if they didn’t believe in them. It wouldn’t make for good business.
Often the largest part of the garden is the lawn itself. In order to take good care of it you will want all the best lawn care products available. Be sure the garden centre you head to can facilitate these, so that you can keep a healthy, happy lawn.
Having all the right gear, and all the necessary bits and bobs is one thing, service is another. Not all of us are veteran green-thumbs, but we still want our garden to be all it can be. To achieve this without the know-how, you want expert advice. You want to know what to plant where, when, and how to care for it.
All the necessary information isn’t always on the plant tags. You may want specific information about what tools to use to plant them, or how much space they need from surrounding plants. Whatever your query, the best garden centres should have the best garden centre staff. Seasoned and enthusiastic green thumbs with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their plants, including how to plant and care for them.
You don’t just want the staff to be experts in their profession, you want them to go above and beyond. You want to feel welcome and at home at your garden centre. Somewhere you’re quite happy to spend an hour or two, and take time over your decisions.
Furthermore, when it comes to making decisions and selecting the right plants, you want staff who will point things out to you, without having to ask. You’re not always going to know the specific questions you need to ask about a plant and its care, for example, so you want to know you’re in friendly helping hands.
Speaking of spending an hour two somewhere, you’re also only going to do that if there is a nice vibe to your garden centre. Garden centres should be bright, clean, lively places where people contentedly shuffle around sharing a mutual appreciation for things that grow. If it’s not that, how can it be a good garden centre? How can it inspire you and your garden?
During a long trip to the garden centre you could very well get hungry or thirsty. In order to keep you comfortable during your trip, it’s a nice touch for the centre to have at least a modest cafe serving a good cup of tea. Some have restaurants where you can even enjoy a hearty lunch to keep you going on your jungle shopping adventure.
You want the plants and features you’re there to purchase to be laid out in a clearly visible fashion. That way it’s much easier to get a good look at things and make an informed decision. It’s a nice touch when garden centres also have mixed displays showing different plants together. It can give customers ideas for what plants go with what, either visually or practically – needing the same sort of conditions and care.
Choosing all of your plants and equipment for your gardening projects can take a long while. You don’t want to have to worry about extra parking charges. You’re already ‘forking out’ for the necessary materials. And you’re offering that patronage to this garden centre, after all. If they want that patronage and are reliably well established, they will provide free parking at the least.
Also during a long trip to the garden centre, gathering all your plants and materials, you will want good internet access. Wifi in particular, in case your 5g is patchy. This isn’t just a trivial thing for bored kids in tow (although helpful there for keeping them happy), it’s also useful. You may need to search a number of queries related to your garden renovation projects, and need answers before making a purchase.
From fountains and statues to garden firepits and outdoor pizza ovens, it’s not just plants you want in your garden. A good garden centre ought to provide everything you need to make your treasured outdoor space the best it can be. You don’t want to wind up hunting nearby shops, in the unlikely event they’ll have a birdhouse. Better to be able to get everything in one foul swoop when planning your garden makeovers and overhauls.
If you’re in or around Milton Keynes and looking for a great garden centre to visit, look no further than Woburn Sands Emporium. We offer a wide selection of plants, tools, and gardening equipment, as well as friendly staff on hand and a good cup of tea. Also, free parking and wifi!
For more information on our range of products and services, get in touch today. We’re happy to help.