Shopping in your Independent Garden Centre, Greenbourne Nursery

Updated: Jun 17

✦ 2021 thoughts from Daniel “Chook” Fowler

I’ll be honest with you all, this would be about the 10th or 11th edit to this article. At the beginning I didn’t really know what to write, however I knew what I had to write about. I could have gone down the easy road and written about what’s good to buy for Christmas or something sheepish like that.

However, while I have calmed down by the 11th edit, I still felt compelled to share some advice when visiting these enchanted little centres of horticultural joy. The motive for the article arose over obviously a very stressful and unusual time in human history.

Just as the world changed so did our clientele at Greenbourne Nursery.

We went from servicing dominantly dedicated garden loving human beings to being inundated with panic stricken individuals who had all of a sudden discovered their gardens and hence the garden centres. Then, like birds following a flock, they seemly were lining up at our doors with random and sometimes demanding questions. We were, to a degree, caught a little off guard.

Not off guard to the extra work, but off guard to the new type of client. Which again brings me to the paradox of this article, you see most people that read gardening articles are the people that were there before all this craziness and will always be our core clientele. Yet you have to hear me rant about all this. Well up to edit 9 it was all rant, however in my ultimate wisdom I have concluded two things, potentially all of our core clientele will read this, have a laugh and might pass it onto the odd person who is in the early stages of becoming gardening obsessed like the rest of us.

The other conclusion is that the odd, random garden rookie (yes it might be you), will see the word ‘shopping’ in the title and engage in the article looking for some sort of half price special. They then will be totally enthralled by my enigmatic writing and get caught up in my dream to re-educate the world for the better. If you’ve read up to here thank you, read on and enjoy a bit of fun, it is dedicated to the hardworking nursery person.

Come with a plan

If you can, it is great. It seems at the moment we are getting a lot of people through the nursery who are a little ‘green’ when it comes to gardening. Which is great. Gardening is good for you.

So, when I talk about “come with a plan”, I’m not referring to the plants themselves as we can advise you on this, this is what we know. What we don’t know are the conditions of the areas you wish to plant out. This is the plan, the information we require. Let us know which way the garden bed faces, the soil type (bring in a sample), how much sun the spot gets, rainfall estimates etc. When you’re formulating your plan, give us the answers that we can not possibly know. We can assess the conditions you have and then come up with some fantastic planting ideas for your areas.

Beware of the google search

Haven’t internet search engines changed everything forever? We now have access to all the information in the world at the touch of a button. We can all diagnose our own worst case medical scenario when we get a rash, we can convert inches to centimetres in an instant when we go around to Nan’s place and she wants to know your height and of-course we can search for the most unique plants that may grace the wonderful earth that we live on.

Be it a rare South American carnivorous orchid that lives 300 feet up in the canopy or maybe a rainforest species that has only ever been found in the droppings of nomadic pygmy monkeys, it would be great to grow and own plants so unique, let alone have them for sale in the nursery.

Now don’t get me wrong, we are certainly able to sell you many, many unique horticultural treasures. We are constantly working with existing suppliers and sourcing new growers that produce plant lines that are something different and interesting for the person who has everything. However, we can’t sell and source every plant that exists. Believe me we would love to, as most of us desperately love plants of all forms.

We are, however, restricted by what the growers are producing, what quarantine restricts us to, what our climate zone can contain and by what actually exists! So please be patient with the nursery staff when they explain that there are certain plant species that we just can’t obtain in order to sell to you.

In the car parks