Teatime in the Garden (Centre)

Jamie Oliver Green Fingers Mug - Click to buy

You would think that someone like me, a tea enthusiast, would have green fingers. After all, tea comes from a plant (Camellia sinensis) and people who are into plants are usually into gardening.ย  (Before we go any further ….. the U.K. phrase ‘green fingers’ is akin to the U.S. phrase ‘green thumb’. I don’t know why British gardeners get five fingers and American gardeners only get a thumb, but The Word Detective thinks he knows.) Anyway, I’m no gardener (I can kill a silk plant. Can you?), but folks here in the U.K. spend nearly 5 billion pounds every year on garden products – that’s a lot of green fingers, thumbs, and other appendages.

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Heather Plants

 

There are close to 3,000 garden centres in the U.K.

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Laura Ashley Wellies

 

Several years ago, when large DIY chains started to drop their prices, garden centres fought back the competition by adding a different type of merchandise to their basic stock of plants, fertilizer and garden tools.

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Kitchenware Display

 

Soon, things like statuary, gifts and home interior products, cards and stationery and books, toys, outdoor clothing, holiday items, and more were filling the shelves of garden centres.

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Cream Tea

 

Garden centres quickly became leisure destinations – and many of them added on-site cafes and/or tearooms.

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Treats

ย (As I am writing this post, I am DYING right now for one of those custard tarts.)

 

Golden Acres Garden Centre, Toasted Teacake

 

Garden centres are now very, very, VERY popular places, especially on Sundays. And why not? They are bright, airy, filled with lovely things to buy – and a great place for tea.

I took these photographs at Golden Acres Garden Centre in Wiltshire. That was me above in their cafe, reading my book, eating a Toasted Teacake.

And hey – if you’re a tourist, a visit to a local garden centre would be a unique addition to your itinerary. Thumbs of all colour welcome.



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Comments

  1. Makes me want to come to England tomorrow, but I’ll be there next year for the 100th Chelsea Flower Show! Can’t wait!

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment and LUCKY YOU! I’ve been to the Chelsea Flower Show only once but absolutely LOVED it. (And me – the UN-gardener! ha!) I attended with my mum-in-law. She purchased a variety of daffodil bulbs at the show and planted them in her back garden. Every spring when they bloom, it gives us the perfect opportunity to reminisce about that special day together.

      The 100th show will most certainly be exceptionally enjoyable.

  2. Kathleen Bond says:

    Those tarts look wonderful! I’ve always thought the idea of afternoon tea was so civilized, but how do you eat 3 meals a day AND a proper “tea” and not gain tons of weight???? What is the secret?

    • Dear Kathleen, So glad you stopped by and took the time to leave a comment. Thank you! I wish I knew the answer to your question …. but I do know that I could easily forego lunch and supper if it meant a lovely afternoon tea in the middle! It’s so ironic, isn’t it, how tiny, crustless tea sandwiches and bite-sized desserts can be so darn filling!

  3. Love English garden centers! When we visited in 2010, my sister-in-law took me to a very nice one, her fav, in Marlow where they lived for a year. It was called Notcutts and had a wonderful gift shop where I spent many a pound! But, alas, no tea room….

    • I’m glad you’ve been able to visit one. They’re great fun, aren’t they! We have a Notcutts nearby and were actually card-carrying members (loyalty scheme) for a year or so – and ours has a cafe/tearoom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ah, you just got me thinking about treacle tarts! I also really like the gift shops in some garden centres – they can be good hunting ground for bits and pieces.

    • ha ha Well, I’ve never had the pleasure of a treacle tart. Yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I do love custard tarts. They sell them (sporadically) at a local tearoom in Runnymede and we are told they are made by a couple of little old ladies who also supply them to the Castle (Windsor). Not sure if it’s true, but it could very well be because they are gorgeous! And you’re right about the gifts section. I’ve always found their card and stationery section to be much better than the card shops.

  5. Those mince slices look good; no, hang on, I’ll have a slice of fruit pie – err, hang on, maybe I’d prefer a scone. Can I change my mind again? Any chance of a bit of everything?

    I love this blog and I love teatime.

  6. Lovely post! ๐Ÿ˜€
    There’s a wonderful garden centre in Syon Park, Brentford (London) which is well worth a visit for coffee, tea and cakes etc. As well as the garden centre there’s fantastic surroundings for views and walks.
    My local garden centre entities customers with a buy one get one free cooked breakfast!

  7. Lovely post! ๐Ÿ˜€
    There’s a wonderful garden centre in Syon Park, Brentford (London) which is well worth a visit for coffee, tea and cakes etc. As well as the garden centre there’s fantastic surroundings for views and walks.
    My local garden centre entities customers with a buy one get one free cooked breakfast!

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