A glimpse of improved weather and Easter heading our way and thoughts turn to the garden and outdoor living. Avon Mill at Loddiswell on the road to Kingsbridge doesn’t just offer up the usual expert advice and great range of plants and shrubs... this South Hams centre really understands about the outdoor lifestyle. You can buy everything from barbecues and furniture to outdoor lanterns but it’s not all high street names, The Gallery Project offers local crafts too. There’s a fabulous deli (with lots of local produce), cafe and art gallery and lots of events throughout the year. Combine a visit with Sunday brunch (first Sunday in the month).
If Avon Mill oozes a lifestyle vibe, Otter Nurseries is the garden centre with lots of friendly advice and a warm welcome. This has been a family-run business since the 1960s and now has centres in Ottery St Mary, Brixton near Plymouth, Torquay and Wincanton as well as further afield in Lymington, Hampshire. The business started with vegetables and plants being grown for sale in East Devon markets. It may be bigger, but that original passion for plants hasn’t diminished and Otter Nurseries still grow the vast majority of the things they sell themselves including shrubs, trees, herbaceous perennials, bedding plants, fuchsias and geraniums.
This is a bit of an A38 landmark – the massive centre clearly visible from the road as you approach Plymouth. Robin Taylor started the business in 1970 and it is now part of the nationwide Garden and Leisure group. It is current holder of the Best Garden Centre in Wales and West in the Garden Centre Association’s awards and also named Best Garden Centre Outdoor Living Retailer and Best Destination Centre Plant Area. The large footprint of Endsleigh means lots of displays, plenty of choice and there’s also plenty of outdoor buildings to choose from. More recent additions have been pets and aquatics areas with water features, ponds and liners
This began as a small family business selling cabbages at Helston market. As their popularity grew, a small shop was set up at the nursery near Breage. But the unique growing conditions in Cornwall led to an interest in unusual exotic plants becoming a core part of Trevena’s business. They were one of the first to bring Proteas and Restios to Britain, and today around 80% of the plants they sell are grown on the 32-acre site – so they really understand the nature of the Cornish climate. There are two large greenhouses, a fern tunnel and plenty of outdoor space for a huge variety of fabulous plants. Next weekend they’re at Cornwall Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc.
This garden centre was founded in 1970 by Frank and Marion Danning as a small nursery supplying home grown fruit, vegetables and flowers from a roadside stall to local customers as they passed by. Forty years on, the lovely family atmosphere endures and it’s often successful in the Garden Centre Association awards. Future plans include a new garden centre at Probus in South Cornwall with display gardens covering around four acres offering lots of garden design ideas and as a showcase for Cornish produce.