Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sunday Sunshine and Garden Centres (aka. I am turning into my mother)

So last weekend was gorgeous wasn't it?  Beautiful sunshine, clear blue skies and at one point I even had sunglasses on and the car windows down - hopefully spring is now actually on it's way.

Clear blue sky
 

 
We headed out around 9am to go to a local garden centre. Yes, an actual garden centre. With plants. And sheds. And a darn good cafe on the side.
(21 year old me is laughing hysterically in the corner - or possibly crying...)
 
Whitehall Garden Centre is pretty much a giant in the local gardening scene. They have two centres, one just outside Whitchurch on the south side of Bristol and one on the Lacock bypass in Wiltshire.
Every spring, they make the very clever marketing decision to mailshot what seems like everyone in the South West with a free magazine complete with money off vouchers for various plants in the garden centre and various foodie bits in the cafe.
 
Ours arrived on Saturday morning; so along with the rest of Somerset and Wiltshire we drove across to the large centre near Lacock in the spring sunshine. The Whitchurch branch is marginally closer to us but we actually had the discussion of going to the larger branch and "making a day of it".
 
The day did start though with two bumper big breakfasts from the cafe, bought with our '2 for £9.99' voucher (usually £6.99 each so we made a saving of 4 squid). We chose to sit near the window overlooking the plants which was lovely albeit rather warm towards the end of our meal.

Breakfast in the sunshine at Whitehall Garden Centre
 

 
After stuffing ourselves we attempted to walk off the eggs and bacon by browsing the gardens. Whitehall doesn't just have plants for sale, it also has sheds, patios, greenhouses, family pets, fish, activity weekends (last week it was 'Potato Weekend'), a farm shop, gift shop, a kids adventure playground, picnic areas and plenty of colourful things to buy.

Whitehall Garden Centre
 
Whitehall Garden Centre
 
Whitehall Garden Centre
 

Andrew strayed into the sheds section and started pacing them out inside. He's got his eye on a large shed to go down the side of our house so he can have his mechanical workshop in the garage and his carpentry workshop outside. I did point out that most men would be lucky to have one very small man-cave let alone two, but needless to say that didn't go down very well...

Whitehall Garden Centre

Whitehall Garden Centre
 
Whitehall Garden Centre



After an hour of so of mooching about we picked up what we had actually come for - hanging baskets usually priced £16.99 reduced to £7.99 with a money off coupon. We usually buy a couple of nice ones for the front of the house and then I make up some of our own for the back garden (mainly because the ones I make never last as long as the garden centre ones!).

Whitehall Garden Centre Hanging Baskets
 

I tried to make Andrew hang about long enough to let our breakfast settle so we could nip back for some elevenses involving the amazing cakes on display but we didn't have time - it'll just have to be another trip on another day!

Whitehall Garden Centre Cafe Cakes


 
Have you done anything recently that's made you feel middle-aged?
Or perhaps you've already realised you're turning into your mother?
 
 

16 comments:

  1. This is so going to be me when we get a house. If I'd of thought that would ever be the case growing up or at university I would have thought you were kidding, because me being green fingered and wanting to garden is just a no no. I think not having any private space, or a garden or anything has really changed my feelings towards it, that and wanting to grow our own veg ourselves. I even have boards on pinterest about ideas for flowers and how to attract insects. I don't know what's happening to me.

    Also getting excited at the thought of getting some new kind of cleaning equipment or something has really aged me, a lot lol.

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    1. Haha, I definitely agree! I had a small indoor plant at uni and I could never keep it alive. I think it really is having your own green space though, that makes you want to get all green fingered - I look forward to your own green adventures in the future! :-) xx

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  2. Lovely pics. Though i love flowers im not at all green fingered. I have one flower bed in my back yard and i usually buy a hanging basket and a couple of pots.....then battle to keep them all alive.lol. x

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    1. We go through phases of being really enthusiastic about the garden and then just leaving it for months without touching it. When we first started buying a few little plants, I made sure that everything I bought didn't need much looking after - that way, hopefully they wouldn't die on us! :-) x

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  3. Sunday afternoon at the garden centre seems to have become a regular in the last year or two for us... definitely middle-aged (and not yet 30)!

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    1. I know, if we could have picked up a car boot sale on the way and also spent the journey listening to Radio 2, I think the whole 'getting old' picture would be complete :-) x

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  4. I must have such an old soul - being a 21 year old and actually loving garden centres! I went there two days ago actually, I needed a new water plant for my goldfish, and left with more than I came for... Oops! I just couldn't leave the pretty daffodils there, I had to have them!

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    1. Oh but daffodils are gorgeous! So summery and bright!
      I don't think it matter if you like garden centres and you're only 21, it just means that when you've got your own place, you'll have a wealth of experience already! :-) xx

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  5. I found myself telling Lucas to take his coat off "or he wouldn't feel the benefit of it". If there'd been a sword handy I would have fallen upon it. I refuse to turn into my mother! I am young, funky and cool!!!

    Whitehall have failed to send me any money off coupons. However, as they're near Lacock I might venture inside when we next visit. I am in the market for some nice garden furniture once we finally get the new turf down in the back garden!

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    1. Haha, the other thing I always remember my mum saying is to make sure I dried my hair after swimming lessons, otherwise I'd catch a cold!
      Lacock have the magazines lying around most of the garden centre so it's really easy to just take a look around for 5 mins, pick one up and then just rip or cut the vouchers out - the breakfasts are definitely recommended! :-) x (ps. I agree, you are definitely young, funky and cool!)

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  6. EVERYTHING I do makes me feel middle-aged. Tom and I have been National Trust and English Heritage members for years, I love a good, cosy cardigan, on the rare occasions I venture out past 7pm I end up complaining that the music in the venue I end up at is TOO DAMN LOUD. I'm turning 26 in two weeks' time... xxx

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    1. But you're so right - the music *is* always too loud! You can't ever hear yourself speak :-)
      We've toyed with getting a National Trust membership (mainly for the free parking along the coastline) but haven't signed up yet. And yep, I do also own lots of cardigans - a cardi and a dress was kind of my staple wardobe at the age of 22! (and still is now) :-) xxx

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  7. P.S. Those cheesecakes look awesome- you definitely have to go back!

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    1. Haha, we certainly will! (and that'll be a whole other blog post, just about cake) :-) xxx

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  8. I LOVE Garden Centres! Unfortunately my other half doesn't quite get it! There's an amazing looking one just down the road from where his Mum lives and every time we go and see her I ask if we can go to the Garden Centre but he just looks at me like I'm a bit bonkers :(

    I'm going to try and lure him there with the promise of cake next time. Talking of which, gutted you didn't get your cake as well :(

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    1. Does it have sheds? Would that tempt him? Andrew was a bit bored by the idea until he realised they had a massive shed section :-)
      You should definitely try cake luring though - that should be hard to resist! :-) x

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Thank you very much for all your lovely comments; I do have every intention of replying but sometimes life with a baby gets in the way...

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