Thursday, 20 April 2017
Creaming one's knickers at a garden centre
I had to resist buying one of these splendid Echiums
There are garden centres, and there are garden centres... and then there is The Gardening Club in Crews Hill, near Enfield in North London!
Occupying a site of more than 30 acres (1,400,000 square feet!), this phenomenal expanse of glasshouses - which Madam Arcati and I visited today - is a horticultural cornucopia on Dutch proportions, with every conceivable type and range of plants: from bedding (which we came back with; at three substantial trays for £5, how could we not?) to herbaceous, to houseplants, to shrubs, to trees (including a fine array of tree-ferns to make one salivate); featuring both exotic and commonplace species, and generic colour ranges.
It quite rightly claims to be "one of the largest covered garden centre clubs [one pays £5 per household for annual membership] in the UK open to the public".
Imagine a Westfield shopping complex, only just for plants. And dirt cheap, too! A gardener's wet dream.
Crews Hill itself is known as "Britain's Horticultural Mile". For many years it supplied London's markets with fresh flowers and produce, before things changed and selling direct to the (mainly car-driving) public became more profitable. Now, in addition to the Gardening Club there are dozens of outlets of the garden and garden-related variety all down the road, in this last final northern outpost of Greater London before it becomes Hertfordshire. Why have we waited so long to discover it?
Greedy though it may be, we did also purchase a further four fuchsias (only one more named variety and we will have 50).
However, when one discovers something plant-focused on a scale such as this [we walked miles - I'm knackered!], surely we are forgiven? If we had not been on foot, carrying these purchases a further mile back to the railway station, just picture the car-load of stuff we would have acquired...
Crews Hill Gardening Club website - featuring a video tour!