As a nation, we have often been regarded as dog lovers, tea lovers, useless lovers and also garden lovers and today it is the latter that I most want to focus on. We would all like to think that we are as green fingered as the next man, but when we look at the houses and gardens around us, it is quite easy to see that we are more like a village or small hamlet rather than a nation of garden lovers.
This is why I am going to make this claim. We are not a nation of garden lovers; we are a nation of garden CENTRE lovers. That’s it, we are obsessed with spending every un-worked minute, casually browsing the endless displays of pitch forks and gas barbeques, knowing full well that the more time spent planning where the decking will go, the less time spent turning the borders and digging up weeds.
Now, I don’t blame people for choosing this addiction, as I have to admit that I am also an addict and no amount of self denial will change this fact.
I am an addict, I feel liberated for saying that. In fact I might even form a support group so we can talk about petrol hedge trimmers whilst slurping a cup of tea and munching on a sports biscuit. (Biscuit may vary)
What is it that we adore so profusely about the garden centre? I found myself trying to answer this question a few weeks ago and I came up with: plants, hanging baskets, tools and country clothing, but then I realised, I had forgotten the most integral part to any self respecting garden mall (sorry, centre) and that is the café. People, old and young, flock to the café to queue for their cup of Earl Grey, homemade soup & a roll or may be a flap jack, which will need a good twenty five minutes to work around the mouth before you can even think about swallowing.
The garden centre cafe is slowly taking first place in the race to become the hub of the social community. When once it could be said that the local pub filled this role, it is the garden centre that is taking the baton and leading us all to a life of fertilisers and scones.
Is this a bad thing? Well who am I to judge? All I can say is that, I for one enjoy this craze and I hope that it lasts. Oh and if there are any garden centre managers reading this, please, moisten the flap jacks.