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. (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.
There are close to 3,000 garden centres in the U.K.
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.
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.
Garden centres quickly became leisure destinations – and many of them added on-site cafes and/or tearooms.
(As I am writing this post, I am DYING right now for one of those custard tarts.)
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.