16 November 2021

Misnamed

On the southern edge of Sheffield, just beyond the Batemoor and Jordanthorpe council estates, there are three garden centres - New Leaf, Ferndale and Tommy Ward's. I visited all three of them earlier today - searching for a particular Christmas gift for my brother Robin who lives in south western France. The gift idea is garden-related.

In passing I noticed four identical things at each garden centre:-

1) The car park was almost full

2) They each had a lot of Christmas tat on display.

3) There was nobody outside looking at the plants and trees etc..

4) The cafe tables were all full and there were customers queuing at the counter.

It seems that a visit to a garden centre may not be about horticulture any more. Not about seeds and slightly pink hydrangeas or  watering cans and shasta daisies but more about tinsel and singing snowmen made in China as well as cups of tea and toasted sandwiches or slices of chocolate cake and  bowls of carrot and ginger soup.

I have nothing against the elderly as I am officially an old git myself, but it was interesting to note that just about every table in each of the three cafes was occupied by silver-haired people. And they were all chattering away about topics that interest the wrinklies such as the price of bread, grandchildren and the writings of  Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Needless to say, I did not find the present I was after and now must resort to a small online business named after a rain forest in South America. I cannot name the gift in question as my brother sometimes peruses this blog. Hiya bro! Comment ça va?

41 comments:

  1. Well, I suppose they are all now leisure centres in a garden. Perhaps you could try a plant nursery instead?

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    1. The gift is garden-related, not a plant.

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  2. I wasn't familiar with the sort of garden centre you refer to before I started reading blogs from the UK. Around here it's just a place to buy plants and gardening supplies. There might be a patio furniture display where you could sit down, but no one would attempt to take your order for tea or coffee.

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    1. That is how it used to be here. The garden centre cafe is a phenomenon of the last twenty five years.

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  3. Plant nurseries are much the same here and although not grey haired, we fit right in with the oldies. As we don't have a garden our visits are usually for a wander and food and we have a times bought gifts.
    Tat is such a useful word, sadly not used here.

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  4. My local garden center, owned by people I know, has also turned into a retail establishment with a coffee shop. At Christmastime they have incredible decorations and gifts to buy, many of them non-plant related. And they usually have a couple reindeer.

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  5. Our garden centers must be a lot different than yours. I don't know a single one with a cafe inside. One used to have a popcorn machine with free popcorn but I haven't seen it in a few years. I just went to ours last week for some landscape stakes and I was the only person in the store proper and actually had to ring the bell to get someone from the backroom to take my money. But they did have some Christmas "tat" on display.

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    1. You should have bought some Christmas tat to decorate your new dual-purpose building.

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    2. Bah humbug!

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  6. Our garden centres are just plants and plant-related merchandise like seeds, pots, garden ornaments, etc. I hope you can get what you're looking for.

    I like the word tat for shoddy stuff. We don't use it here. The only "tat" I grew up knowing about was the handcraft - making lace with a shuttle. I have my great-grandmother's tatting shuttles and a few pieces of her work. Maybe someday I'll actually learn to use them.

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    1. Funny how words can have entirely different meanings. A "jenny" may be a shortened form of "spinning jenny" as well as a female ass.

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  7. In some of the garden centers, plants are the least of all the inventory.

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  8. Our garden centres have a lot of Christmas decoractions; I imagine it helps get them through the winter season which is so very long here. We had a snowstorm last night and this morning so winter has arrived. Thankfully our weather is nothing compared to BC which has seen flooding and mudslides. Parts of the highways have been washed away and towns evacuated.

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    1. We have seen those images on the BBC Pixie. Terrible. Those poor people!

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  9. I know what you mean, having been to several garden centers in the UK myself. My mother-in-law loves them - she is a keen gardener (or used to be until recently; she has become too frail at 87 to do much). For her, a trip to the garden center outside Ripon is a highlight, a proper outing which will exhaust and please her very much at the same time.

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    1. It is a nice way for senior citizens to spend time away from home - good for mental health.

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  10. Are there any French garden centres near him that sell plant gift tokens YP? The big garden centres seem like gold mines for nice cups of tea and cake and housewares items.

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    1. They also have those dirty plants with soil and everything! Yuk!

      What is a French garden centre? One with baguettes and garlic?

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  11. We have a local place that only sells plants. It is owned by one man and the only staff is his wife.It is the main place that I go to for plants. I do however like the odd trip to a big " garden centre" to browse for all sorts of other things.

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    1. Do you visit the cafes in those big garden centres?
      Good luck to that man and his wife!

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    2. No I don't visit cafes in garden centres, or anywhere else actually!

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  12. Around here, the garden centre is almost extinct. Hardware megalith Bunnings has a nursery section and local, independent nurseries have been pushed out.
    There was a local garden centre that survived for quite a while solely on the reputation of the cafe but even that is now sad and abandoned

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    1. Where do the profits that the big corporates amass actually go?

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  13. im usually the one person outside looking at the half dead cheap plants while they stare out the restaurant window at me...lol

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    1. What a weirdo you are Kate! Imagine going to a garden centre to look for plants when you could be in the warm having a toasted teacake and a latte!

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  14. The garden centres here are purely plant and garden related - no cafés, or gift shops selling tat, few sell garden furniture, and no Christmas decorations either, though at this time of year some sell Christmas trees. Given the weather we normally enjoy year round, they are outdoor.
    UK garden centres seem to be more socially minded. I used to meet up with friends for coffee and cake, at a huge one near home. It was very popular and there were frequently coaches in the car park and lots of wrinklies (I wasn't one in those days!) cluttering up the aisles in the shop, and pinching cuttings from plants, when they thought no-one was looking! And NO! YP - that was not, or is, something I'm ever tempted to do!

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    1. Methinks the lady doth protest too much, thereby signalling her guilt!

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    2. Sadly YP, you are predictable in your responses - I knew you would make some similar comment.

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    3. Gulp! You know me better than I know myself Carol. Sorry for any offence caused.

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  15. Some of our nurseries or garden centers are the same. Some keep it to plants and growing. I had no idea that it was the same where you are.

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    1. We get a lot of our ideas from America but I hope that we do mot adopt your gun laws Mary! Hang on, do you have any?

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    2. Haha! Of course we do. Totally inadequate as they are.

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  16. Our local garden centre which does still have lovely plants now has the obligatory (expensive) cafe but also sells cards, china, fancy candles, jams, cakes and clothes not sturdy gardening clothes but fashionable dresses, handbags, jewellery etc they even have coach trips going there.
    Debbie

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    1. A coach trip to a garden centre! Christ Almighty!

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  17. Well THAT's interesting. I can't imagine anyone gathering at our local garden center (Homebase) for a cuppa. Yours must be much nicer. I can't abide all the Christmas tat. Dave and I are minimalist Christmas decorators -- one strand of lights on our avocado tree and that's about it!

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  18. Bonjour Monsieur Robin Pudding.

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