Local parks and green spaces are fantastic places to spend some outdoor time with the kids, and there are often hidden treasures to be found on-site. On our trips to local parks we’ve stumbled across all manner of things to explore, including willow tunnels, tree trails, wooden carvings and sensory gardens. Last week I came across the gardening equivalent of a child in a sweet shop: plants for sale!
Woodthorpe Grange Park in Nottingham is well-known for being a fabulous outdoor space close to the heart of the city. There are beautifully maintained grounds, pitch and putt golf, and a tropical house, as well as the usual playground and cafe. But there’s also a more recent addition to the park, in the form of this lovely plant shop.
Like the park, the plant shop is managed and run by council employees, and aims to provide park visitors with an easy way to buy top quality plants, compost and garden supplies. There’s a wide range of perennial and bedding plants, plus trees, shrubs, containers, compost, general garden supplies, and a lovely gift section inside the shop itself. You can even have a fresh bouquet or a seasonal planter made to order.
The park is also home to a huge nursery, which supplies the city and many other local authorities with plants. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about just how many plants are needed to stock up a city’s parks, traffic islands and floral displays, but having seen the nursery in operation I can tell you it’s on a huge scale. Each year the nursery supplies the city with half a million plants, plus another 320,000 for other local authorities. That certainly puts my little greenhouse into perspective!
For years park visitors have been asking to buy plants from the nursery, and now they can stock up their gardens from the shop, while also supporting services in their local area.
The plant shop has a real point of difference to a garden centre, and that’s the super-knowledgeable staff. Everyone who works here is horticulturally trained, with many of them dividing their time between the shop and the nursery. This means they really know their plants, so you get fantastic support and advice on the best varieties for your garden. They will also order plants in for you, and there’s even a delivery service available if you get carried away!
I think it’s a brilliant idea to make the council’s plants available for sale to the public; it’s a great way to support your local area when shopping for the garden, and an opportunity to benefit from the wealth of gardening knowledge on-site at the same time. It also makes a day out at the park even more enjoyable, we’ll definitely pop into the shop whenever we visit from now on.
Woodthorpe Grange Park Plant Shop is open 9am-3pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.
You might also be interested in the ‘Grow Your Own’ event taking place in the park on Saturday September 10th. It’s a free family event which celebrates everything about growing your own, with lots of stalls, displays and workshops to enjoy.
What hidden gems have you found in your local parks?