Garden centre or nursery? A country divided

Have you been buying plants in the last two weeks? Don’t feel guilty. Apparently we’ll spend £1.4bn by the end of the year (the British, not just you and me), but did you get them from a garden centre or an independent nursery? Look on any gardening forum – it’s contentious. Whether you go to Dobbies or Bill’s Specialist Plants is as defining as being a Brexiteer or a Remoaner. It is bit of an intellectual snobbery thing. I took my sisters to a garden centre when they visited and they announced snootily, ‘We’ve been here 20 minutes and we...

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Larch Cottage Nurseries – Penrith

If surprise and wonder are your shtick, take 13 minutes out of  your M6 journey north or south and get along to Larch Cottage Nurseries just south of Penrith. I know, it sounds disarmingly underwhelming, and believe me the little terraced cottage entrance compounds the deception, for you have in fact found the horticultural equivalent of J K Rowling’s Platform 12 and three-quarters. It was created by Peter Stott over three decades ago when he was unable to find more unusual plants for his landscaping business. His vision to create a unique visitor experience has, unequivocally, been met. The...

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