Posted: 03/07/2013 at 15:21
I've just been to a very big garden centre near me. More of a small shopping mall really as there are franchises in there for shoes, clothes, cards and so on. I had a nice lunch in the cafe, which is huge. I came away having only bought a birthday card however as the plants seemed really expensive. There were actually coaches full of older people arriving for a day out. There are several GCs like this around here and I sometimes drop in to one in my gardening clothes when I need something. The looks I get from people in their Sunday best is very amusing, they don't look like they ever go near a garden, let alone get their hands dirty!
I recently discovered a small nursery near me too. It has probably been there for ever but I didn't know it existed until a flyer came through my door. The plants were obviously mostly self propagated, good quality and reasonably priced. The proprietor was working away potting on but was very friendly and helpful. I bought quite a bit of stuff and will definitely go back. I imagine it is quite hard to make a living out of this sort of place though when you have to compete with the slick chains and supermarkets but this is the kind of place I like to spend my money in.
Good luck if you decide to give it a go!