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Talkback: Garden centres revisited

i have just visited a gc, and was greated with a good morning, followed by a member of staff coming up to me as i looked at their display of cyclamen, advising me to keep away from heat and water from the bottom, [the cyclamen that is!] subsequently I bought 3 for my kitchen window, thats what i call service. One of my pet hates is the labelling of plants, i want info as to sun or shade, dry or moist, size, type of soil and whether its hardy or not, sadly a lot of gcs buy plants from abroad with those universal labels which have very little info on them.


  • I was at a GC yesterday and bought six plants that were in the sale - £1 for 6 - They were salvias that had nearly finished but with a bit of TLC they will be fine next year. Now that I have put them in the ground they have come to life - even for a short time. Look for the bargains in the sales. They are well worth it - just have patience.
  • Thanks jc, and I agree that those generic plant labels with symbols and little descriptive or cultural information are of little or no value at all. If they're going to bother producing a label then why not make it a useful one.
  • Disapointed today as I decided to replace plants which had either died or not performed well. Realised GC close down for the winter as far as perenials are concerned. This is the time of year when you know where the gaps are and gives the plants time to get settled in before winter or am I wrong, should I just pick out my Christmas tree instead lots of choice there
  • I am in the process of revamping our tired garden and have had beds laid out and paved areas and paths built. Now the fun of planting! Have tried to support our local garden centres both of which used to be good for buying plants now only seem to carry seasonal bedding/container pots and a few token shrubs and roses. Plenty of pink wellies and candles and crafty novelties to hang I know not where, but a good selection of plants - not on your life!
  • As a professional gardener, I would encourage the above to move away from "GC's" and instead seek out their local plant nurseries. Not only will the plants be considerably cheaper or larger £ for £ but the staff will give you excellent advice about growing the plant on, site feeding etc. Good nurseries are unfortunately dying out because of the people who want to sell you Christmas trees and Easter bunny replicas. Cherish your nurseries or all you will have is the equivalent of supermarket staff to deal with.
    Apologies if this seems like a rant but several good nurseries have gone down the tube because the customers were more interested in having a Latte than buying decent plants at reasonable prices.
  • Watch out for unwanted 'bonuses' when buying plants. Several times I've had to remove Vine Weevils from plants when I got them home.
  • If only the passion for garden shows would filter over here to the US. At best we have a couple of landscaping shows that are anything but educational to the gardener. Or, in the case of "Victory Garden", isn't so boring you want to fall asleep, lol.

    And don't get me started on plant nurseries. While I am sure that there are US nurseries with knowledgeable staff, I have yet to run across one...
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