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!

14 comments:

  1. So many here have closed down (can't compete with Big Box hardware chain) and the few left have sod-all.There are some specialists, but, generally,trays are bought-in and staff have no clue what's what.
    I'd like to try fuschias here, but most would hate the climate!

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    1. Our local Homebase DIY and gardening store is due to "go Australian" anytime soon (the chain has been bought by Bunnings). However cheap these outlets are, however, I don't think they'll ever get in the way of the garden centre industry here in the UK. We have to thank the BBC (again - Gardeners' World has been a top TV show here for fifty years and shows no sign of a decline in popularity) and the fact that up until the 80s, the only retailers allowed by law to trade on a Sunday were garden centres, so everyone, regardless of whether they had a garden, used to visit them for a day out... Jx

      PS There will be fuchsias to suit your tropical climes, my dear - try Thalia, Billy Green, or any of the Tryphilla types.

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  2. Replies
    1. Home Depot has yet to make major inroads over here, but I guess it is akin to our own B&Q and the aforementioned Homebase. Yes, they sell plants, but quite often uncared-for and half-dead ones :-)

      Jx

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  3. Garden porn! And those echium are invasive herein San Francisco. I love them. They cross polinate like mad, so every year My back yard fills with them and they're different each time.

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    Replies
    1. I would quite like a garden invaded by echiums - I think they're beautiful (especially the giant, towering ones). Jx

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  4. It is a fantastic place and a pint in the garden of an old pub on the way back to the station made it a fab day out.

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    1. A pint (or several) in a country pub garden is the quintessence of a fab day out! To have "garden porn" thrown in for good measure made it a double delight. Jx

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  5. Damn! Are those Meyer Lemons I see?
    That must have smelt divine.
    Severe case of fuchsia envy here, they always melt come July in my backyard.

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    Replies
    1. They had citrus, jasmine, wisteria and lilies all in bloom - the place did indeed smell gorgeous! Jx

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  6. WOW....That is huge darling!! I feel a little trip coming very soon!!
    x x

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    Replies
    1. SHOPPING!! We know you would love it - especially when you spot the fact that roses are three for £10! Jx

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  7. Gasp! I need to take two weeks off work, stat! Do you think they'll find me if I overnight amongst those tree ferns?
    I must try and make off with some of those echiums, too. There are some giganto ones growing in the churchyard here - I keep meaning to collect seeds, but haven't got around to it yet.

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    Replies
    1. I can imagine it now - "Roll up! Roll up! Come and see our latest attraction: The Wild Witch of the Tree Ferns!"

      It's a fab place - albeit a bit of a trek from your neck of the woods... Jx

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