There is a part of London that will forever be green and verdant, for it is Garden Centre Land — an entire village that is made up entirely from garden centres.
OK. there are some houses – one road’s worth — but the rest of the village is a cluster of garden centres.
Quite why so many in this place is an odd legacy of the area’s past history. It used to be arable land, noted for its cottage garden industry, supplying food to London via the conveniently located railway line.
But food industrialized, flowers went dutch, and deliveries by railway dried up, so the locals knowing plants rather well adapted to changing times.
The area is now a mix of public garden centres, and their assorted lackeys and hangers on, and a sort of local hub for flower distributors importing flowers from far away.
There is also a business sense in similar industries clustering together. It gives shoppers confidence that if one shop lacks what they want, then there’s bound to be one nearby that does.
And so, a tiny village, the most northern settlement in Greater London is now dominated by garden centres. In fact it is Garden Centre Land.
- Rattan Garden Furniture
- Culver Garden Centre
- Three Counties
- Wyevale garden centre
- Phoenix Rose
- Paramount Plants
- The Gardening Club
There’s small modest garden centres. Giant garden centres, with their own windmill, garden centers for people with huge gardens, garden centres for balconies.
And, everything in between — for some curious reason, animal centres and garden centres are often found in close proximity, so here’s reptile land, doggy walking land, pets land, fish in tanks land, all the pets.
Going for an outdoor hike, need outdoor furniture, need crafts, or mirrors, or chintz. They’ve got you covered.
If all that greenery is just too much and thought of mowing the lawn sends you into shivers, there are places here happy to sell you rolls of fake grass to soothe your worries away.
And if that’s not enough, take a detour to Garden Shed Land. Two enclaves within Garden Centre Land that are filled with sheds. Loads of sheds. All the sheds.
If you ever wondered where the Christmas Sheds go when they aren’t needed for faux-German markets, this is their home. Which is not entirely surprising, as the area is also home to what is thought to be Europe’s largest santa’s grotto, and equally vast Christmas decorations shop.
Having sated all your gardening needs, several of venues also offer food and refreshments, to assist in recovering from all that optimistic gardening shopping. Or there is a local pub. That pub is in fact, the only non-gardening type venue in the entire village.
But finally, once you’ve fed yourselves, before you leave Garden Centre Land, pop around to the local stables on Whitewebbs Road, where you can pick up some fresh manure to feed your plants.
Obviously, I am being a bit tongue in cheek, and genuinely, if you want a day out to restock an entire garden, and more, then Crews Hill is a curiously perfect place to visit.