The nation’s shops look like they’ll be shut for over a month to come, which means that anyone looking to get in some retail therapy is stuck traipsing the ‘lucky dip’ aisles of Lidl. But do you know what shops are deemed essential? Garden centres.
The odd opt-out for garden centres and off-licenses probably says a lot about the national psyche, but it opens up a world of gardening that, pre-pandemic, probably didn’t exactly appeal quite so much as it does now.
Possibly London’s best known garden centre, if not the country’s, Petersham Nurseries in far-flung Richmond is so smart that until recently it even came with its own Michelin star restaurant!
Beautifully presented and packed with curios as well as quite literally your common garden fare, Petersham Nurseries is open during lockdown and beats another Saturday sat at home wondering what to do…
Where: Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB
Battersea Flower Station
Flat caps off to Battersea Flower Station on the strength of the pun alone.
The Battersea garden centre is a rather magical visit, shoehorned along a railway embankment a sliver of greenery, reclaimed to form what they claim (might) be the Longest Garden Centre & Florist In London (we’re not going to measure, they can have the accolade).
It’s a brilliant wander. Well worth it!
Where: 320 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, SW11 3BX
The Chelsea Gardener
From one of London’s most unique garden centres to one of its poshest, the Sydney Street shop self-describes as a ‘high end shop for outdoor furniture, garden equipment, gifts, decorations, plants and pots’ which in layman’s terms (and covid regulations terms, for that matter) – is otherwise known as a ‘garden centre’.
And it’s as beautiful and kempt as you’d expect for the middle of Chelsea.
Where: 125 Sydney Street, Chelsea, SW3 6NR
As if Little Venice couldn’t get pretty enough, you go and discover Clifton Nurseries!
The garden centre, apparently dating back to 1851, centres around a stunning glass house crammed full with foliage and fancy finds.
From the exotic to the day-to-day, Clifton’s well worth a visit, after 170 years they’ve got it down to a tee.
Where: 5A Clifton Villas, Little Venice, W9 2PH
W6 Garden Centre
Nestled beneath the railway arches of Ravenscourt Park, W6 Garden Centre is a haven for West London’s green fingered.
A sister centre to N1 Garden Centre (based in, you guessed it, London’s N1), it has even been awarded 2017’s Best Boutique Garden Centre at the industry’s Garden Retail Awards.
Which we assume is like winning a garden centre Oscar or something…
Where: 17 Ravenscourt Avenue, Hammersmith, W6 0SL
The Secret Garden
Arguably London’s worst kept secret given they have a website, they’re on social media and you can’t miss them as you walk past, The Secret Garden’s very lack of secrecy has probably been the key to this garden centre’s survival over the past 30 years.
Set in the heart of Crystal Palace, right next to big Sainsbury’s, the garden centre’s perfect for all your gardening bits during lockdown and beyond…
Where: 70 Westow Street, Upper Norwood, SE19 3AF
“We’re Essential” reads the sign as you pass Neal’s Nurseries, and they really should leave this up after the end of lockdown because it’s a favourite.
The South West London garden centre, on the edge of Wandsworth Common and overlooked by the prison, has been a nursery garden since 1850 (are you reading this, Clifton?) it really is quite the oasis.
Ideal parking if you’re visiting anyone doing time opposite, grab a succulent on the way out.
Where: Heathfield Road, Wandsworth, SW18 3HR
The Palace Gardener
AKA’d as The Fulham Palace Garden Centre, the rebranded Palace Gardener at Fulham Palace is the more down-to-earth sibling of the Chelsea Gardener.
It’s a genuine local garden centre for anyone left in Fulham who didn’t put decking across all their outside space about a decade or so ago.
Where: Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham, SW6 6EE