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Myself I always preferred the good old garden nursery's mainly for a far greater range of plants especially cottage garden plants instead of the commercial centres which seem to be all the same hunt them out they are worth the effort and are far more exciting and inspired 

Couldn't agree centres are just that.......nurseries are where the plants are

Unfortunately they are becoming few and far between


If you want some basic plants, similar to the ones everyone else has got,  and some pots and bags of compost and manure and some new tools, camping equipment, Christmas decorations and some tropical fish, bird food, kitchen equipment, new boots, a gilet, sweets, birthday cards, artificial flowers or some costume jewellery the go to a garden centre 

If you want to buy some special plants from someone who understands them and has grown them well, then go to a family-run nursery 


had a potter round Garden centre this morning for some ideas for my new project tropical garden area but nothing really stood out that was different. All i got was three ferns and some alpines but he hey-ho still a good day in the garden got plenty done . got some old fence panels that blew out in the winds any suggestions what i can do with them before they go to there final resting place at the tip ?  

Dove...........I think you can buy rubbish cakes as well


Scott Edwards

There's nothing wrong in garden centres providing birthday cards, Christmas decorations etc. they are simply providing what people want. The frustration is the way their staff often know less about the plants than I do. Go to a nursery and there is often not only a wider range of plants but also a confidence that the plants you are buying have been cared for properly and the staff can give good advice if you need it. I'm lucky to have Wisley on the doorstep and buy most of my plants from there.  

I prefer one of my local nurseries to the G/C. My favourite is family run, the owner has a good knowledge of everything there, he knows pretty much where everything is if you want something specific even though the place is massive(2/3 acres) and their prices are very reasonable. I planted my front garden last year with around 72 hardy perenials for a touch over £40. And I have every confidence that they'll start showing soon, some already are.


I agree with Dove. I use my local GC when I need seeds or bird food - I bought some sweet peas yesterday - and I bought compost today as it was convenient and they had a good offer.  I had a wander round the plants but it's very limited in what it has on sale, although it's a big, long established place. The nursery I use is a good half hour drive away, but it offers a huge range of plants - all Scottish grown - and if I buy just one, then it covers the cost of the petrol because the GC would (almost always) be twice the price.

Scott Edwards wrote (see)

There's nothing wrong in garden centres providing birthday cards, Christmas decorations etc. they are simply providing what people want. ...........

I don't think there's anything wrong with it - I visit a garden centre most weeks, sometimes more often - but if I'm looking for lovely plants, then I go to a nursery

No contest! Nurseries without a doubt. Plant knowledge, is so valuable.

Jack 3

Hey Mike, I also live very near to Ruxley. I can see  the appeal of the garden centre, especially ruxley, it's almost like a day out going there. If you were well off you could even treat yourself a garden folly from there, ha!  But yes the Nursery is obviously the better place for actually buying plants and getting advice.


I wish we had the choice. All the ones around here that I thought would be fantastic are turning to cafes and tat to supplement their business at the expense of the plant size and so employing people that really don't know the difference between a lavender and a rock bun.

(Thank goodness for internet shopping for those more interesting plants I've been looking at!)

Like with everything else, there are good and bad garden centres and nurseries.  At one of our local 'garden centres' at least 90% of the indoor area is given over to non garden related items whilst another does have non-garden related stuff but it is a clearly defined area.  The second one also has a terrific range of plants and staff really know their stuff too.

Nothing quite like a stroll around a nursery.  Several where I live snd always a gem or two or three to fascinate on.  Garden centres supply the usual ordinary everyday stuff we need but don't get excited about 

Thanks everyone for your input garden nursery's are in by the way does anybody out there live near stokesley near Helmsley there is a fab garden nursery there on the back road also there is one near Newark which is close to were I live 


Garden centres are good when you want to buy a plant that has already flowered.

Last year was able to buy a good selection of Rhododendron, all at half price and all in good condition.

Will post photos when in flower later.

local nurseries are best and always my first choice.

Both are needed is my thinking there is plenty garden's to keep both happy i like to visit both depending what i need. My local G/C has a great choice of plants but have a few small nursery's also if need a special plant so am a lucky man all only 15/20 min away. 

Orchid Lady

I must admit my local one call themselves a garden centre but they are more of a nursery, the staff are so helpful and have assisted me loads in getting the right plants for our garden, especially before being on here when I knew even less!  They don't sell cards etc but do sell some furniture (we bought ours from them) and Christmas decs at Christmas.  The range if plants is great and the bargain basement corner is always a favourite  Oh, I forgot to say it is also family run and owned and totally independent, I can't moan too much about the GC groups as they are my customers  

Another alternative when seeking unusual plants is visiting Yellow Book gardens.  I've obtained a lot of unusual plants that way over the years.

I should make it clear that I mean many places have plants for sale - I not advocating my mother-in-laws method of helping herself to 'cuttings' !!


Me too KT53.

Also roadside plant stalls.