Saturday, February 4

WARNING - Garden Centres are dangerous places

We decided to pop to one of our local garden centres for lunch on Tuesday - nothing special we just fancied a day off cooking. Things started well - we have a members' card that entitles us to a free meal every so often and free coffees each month and even better 10% of all our purchases. At £10 for a year's membership it's good value - we break even on just the coffee part.

Our orders were taken and we queued up at the till to pay only to be asked - have you had this month's free meal? We hadn't noticed we were entitled to one so that was a good start. The meals were tasty too I had mushroom stroganoff and Martyn had a chicken pie. Nothing too dangerous there!

To be honest we chose the garden centre as our lunch venue for a reason, we thought we would browse the potatoes and onions. The potatoes for - well just to see if they had anything interesting - and the onions - well having had so many rot on us this year we were a bit worried that we hadn't ordered enough sets!

Now for the danger - well not actual personal danger - more wallet danger! They had an abundance of potato and onion varieties! In the end we limited ourselves to three packs of potatoes (they only had 10 tubers in each after all). We bought Casablanca - a first early, Vales Emerald also first early and described as having good disease tolerance and Marilyn described as having a superb flavour.
Then the onions. I quite fancied trying a white variety called Snowball which was described as storing well which has been an issue this year. We have tried white onions before with limited success and so we thought we'd better try another variety too so we chose Setton which also was described as storing well.

That should have been the end but we decided we'd get a packet of early peas to grow as pea shoots. We chose Twinkle. The trouble is that took us to the seeds bit where I decided I needed some small leaved basil. There were two varieties to choose from - oh dear - I ended up with both Basil Bush ( not Basil Brush) and Aristotle. I was very good though and only slightly tempted to buy a bronze leaved variety too.

Meanwhile Martyn had added a packet of microgreens - broccoli and some French salad leaves to the basket. We've enjoyed our fresh salad leaves over winter using up old lettuce seed so this was to add to the range!

I didn't mention that to reach the cafe you have to pass through the whole of the inside of the garden centre - they're not daft are they! Well en route we passed some oven gloves - creamy coloured - just the colour I had been looking for and hadn't yet found. Did we buy a set? Well yes and no - we bought two!
One with not exactly a realistic bird design and the other ...
 not an exactly realistic chicken design!

It was just as well we didn't browse outside but still we did get 10% discount on all off this so we did save money - didn't we?

38 comments:

  1. Well done on not succumbing to any of the spring bulbs or other expensive plants!!!

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    1. I like your thinking Mal - we were good weren't we?

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  2. Their Marketing Plan obviously works well! You think you are getting a special deal, and they persuade you to part with a lot more cash than would have been the case if you had stayed at home. A Win-Win solution if ever there was one.

    The seed potatoes I ordered have not arrived yet, which is probably a good thing, since it is hardly ideal chitting weather.

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    1. Ah but if they weren't giving us a special deal we would have probably bought the things anyway, Mark.

      To be honest the membership card has saved us lots as the first year we bought a new filter for our pond and saved the fee in one go and this year we bought a bird bath and ditto!

      Snow here at the moment so your are so right that it isn't chitting weather

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  3. It's hard to go to a garden centre without spending money. I like the oven gloves, I just wish I could get my hubby to use them instead of all my tea towels which he scorches in the process. Which garden centre did you go to, do I know it?

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    1. You may do Jo it was Victoria near Featherstone. They had tea towels as well :)

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  4. I have to go to the garden centre at least every two weeks for bird food and I have to say - its hard walking past everything else! I try to go just before I 'have' to be somewhere else to stop me from walking around and thinking that I must buy everything! I do need some oven gloves...

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    1. We have most of our bird seed delivered Alison and so there is less temptation

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  5. It is fatal for me to go anywhere near a garden centre I have never yet come away with only the thing that I went in for. It is like a gardeners disease. The oven gloves are a delight. I had the same trouble as you with onions so I need to get some more as the bag I bought only had 50 in - I can feel a big spend coming on!

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    1. If it was just a blip last year with the onions rotting Elaine we will have an onion glut next year. Wishful thinking!

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  6. Sue, you're too cute with your garden center shopping :) I think with all the choices we have to spend our money, a garden center is a perfect place to support, and you got a meal and coffee to boot. Well done. Cheers, Jenni

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    1. I see it as an investment Jenni, the things we bought will grow and make a profit - more so than money in the bank - well maybe not the oven gloves!

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  7. I find that if I leave the house I spend money, so if your extravagence is confined to garden centres then I think you deserve to spend as much in them as you like!!!!! Besides those oven gloves look great!

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    1. Just found this in Blogger spam Liz which is why I didn't reply sooner. Blogger seems to be going through a bad patch. I do sometimes end up being a little extravagant elsewhere but it's all necessary extravangance.

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  8. ONIONS = near death for me, they are evil, ought to be destroyed. I am severely intolerant and this blog post has just made me so angry at their very existence that I simply must go and eat chocolate to calm down. (Any excuse)
    You did fine, there was sooo much nore you resisted, I say well done!

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    1. Oh Dear Carrie - I am full of apologies but I feel the same when anyone mentions sea food! I'm not allergic just can't stand the sight of it!

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  9. Victoria is a lovely garden centre but we don't go there very often. My hubby bought his fish tank from there.

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    1. We like it Jo as a general garden centre - better than Carr Gate. We had lunch there once (well twice we gave them a second chance). The food was tepid - cold and mediocre in quality. The decor was miserable too. I wrote to their head office and received a reply really dismissing my comments and offering a free meal. Needless to say we didn't take the offer up and haven't had a lunch there since!

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  10. I can never go to a Garden Centre without spending money!

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  11. I know how dangerous these places can be Sue...you just have to learn to control yourself...however I don't think any of your buys were on a whim and to me that justifies every single one of them and I am always in the mindset that if you can justify the purchase then you should buy it!!

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    1. I'll remember that Tanya and use it often

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  12. Hehe!

    We also bought a similar looking basket at our local garden centre on Friday. It's funny reading other peoples blogs who have similar interests and seeing that we are all doing the similar things at the same time.

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    1. Next best thing when you can't get out in the garden Martin & Amy

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  13. That sounds all too familiar! Except my local garden centre doesn't quite give as many perks as yours! A coffee or a free piece of pie a couple times a year just. Sounds like you had a great day out!

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    1. It was just really an hour or so Kelli - if it had been a day heaven knows what we would have come home with!

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  14. Chuckling . . . I often have the same problem! think of it as HRT (horticultural retail therapy)

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  15. Oh yes! very dangerous. It is like going into a supermarket when you are feeling hungry!

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    1. Still where would we be without a little danger Matron?

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  16. Garden centre is really dangerous for the wallet! Good collection of seeds and oven gloves!
    Anyway I have given you an award. Please visit my blog!

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    1. I'm glad you approve of my spending spree malar and thank you for the award!

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  17. Pretty dangerous for the pockets:). There is not much nursery here and I have been avoiding them as well.

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  18. Too many temptations here but it's good to give in to temptation now and again and again and again and ...

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  19. I'm impressed Sue, I was sure you would wind up with at least a couple of hellebores as well as your haul of seeds - and after all, seeds are such good value...

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  20. WE didn't go outside Janet so I was spared that temptation.

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  21. We've got Vales Emeralds for the first time, will be interesting to see how yours do! I'm a sucker for the seeds aisles as well - I'm sure there's a magnet there!

    We're having a seed swap next weekend in Laxey, which will be even more dangerous, like-minded chattering on a small island, we won't be able to keep track of ourselves! One of my mates went to a potato sale and came back with massive amounts to chit, its fun seeing what others are up to in different areas.

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  22. Hi MKB,
    Thanks for stopping by and making a comment - it's good to 'meet' you. I'll certainly nip over to your blog and have a read through and catch up on what you have been up to when I have time.

    It's a first for us for Vales Emerald and the other varieties mentioned here too as you say it will be interesting to see how they fare.

    It may be more dangerous at the seed swap but hopefully not on the wallet!

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