Posted: 09/01/2015 at 18:41
Have to agree that nursery and garden centres are 2 different things - although both require good car parking access and strong (preferably good looking ) young men to help with loading heavy items.
For me, a nursery sells mainly plants (home reared) and often specialises. A good one with lots of high quality (not too expensive) plants is a gem - I don't need it to have a loo or coffee shop - but I do like it to look well kept & reasonably organised. I would expect the staff to know their stuff and be able to advise on plant selection. Woottens (as mentioned by Dove) is an excellent example (they do have a loo in a shed tho' !).
A GC is somewhere I visit for compost, chemicals, furniture, tools & landscaping materials (a plant is often something of an impulse buy). Because tools, furniture etc are expensive it takes longer to choose and may involve much browsing & deliberation - so clean loos and a coffee shop are quite important. Knowledgeable staff are a must and a delivery service for larger / heavier items is pretty essential.
I also like to see garden related things in a GC - books, clothing, aquatic kit, bird food, flower arranging kit etc.
However, I don't need the scented candles, cakes, toys, kitchen equipment or other non-gardening stuff that some GCs choose to stock .....