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I had such a great experience on Saturday, I want to share it. But first to tell you I have a painting hanging in my utility room. The subject matter is a corner shop with a signboard over the door saying PARAFFIN – 62 – WICKES HARDWARE. Under this, the words GARDENING CENTRE and stuck inside the window a poster advertising Brook Bond Tea. The whole painting is really rather amusing and standing out on the pavement are many of the items that would have been sold in this Gardening Centre on Cross Street, Islington in the 1970s. There is a bag of Fison’s something-or-other, lawn edging, pot plants, trellis, incinerator and even a deck chair. Customers are busy going in and out and there is someone’s patient husband sitting on a chair outside the shop waiting for his wife, I suppose. The important point is that this picture raises a big smile whilst capturing an historical moment in the early life of shops known as Garden Centres.

 From this point things became very different and in the eighties Garden Centres became more social and very comprehensive. They had a car park and wares included imported and exotic plants, gift shops, coffee shops and selling dreams. Prices climbed in proportion.

 Today some of our Garden Centres are now ‘Destinations’. One Garden Centre near to me boasts a marina, restaurants, clothes, bakery, vegetable, fish and butcher’s shops, special feature days, and more. No less, it was ‘opened by Royalty’. A far cry from my amusing picture of Wickes’ Gardening Centre at number 62!

 However, on Saturday morning I went to the gardening shop at Newton-the-Willows Gardeners’ Association situated at the entrance to a large Allotment. Now this Gardening Shop really does just what it says on the tin! Cars queued for miles to get a place to park and when one did get inside there was a hugely thriving gardening shop charging very reasonable prices for home grown plants and all the strictly gardening sundries you could think of. It was a joy to see the enterprise. They make some money and this goes to benefit the Association. So perhaps we have come full circle and real gardening shops for real gardeners will return. I really do hope so. The shop at Newton-le-Willows was so wholesome and affordable. Visit here for the website and do leave a message to say that you have visited their website.

 This brings me to question – What kind of Gardening Centre is The Recycle Works with our one-stop e-commerce Gardening Catalogue? Perhaps we are a 21st century armchair Digital Gardening Centre who knows?

Love Your Environment!