It’s time to get in the garden so here’s our round up of some of the best garden centres and nurseries in the region
Green Pastures, Bergh Apton, near Norwich
Just a stone’s throw from Norwich, Green Pastures in Bergh Apton proves that biggest isn’t always best. Small is indeed always beautiful in this rural plant centre which packs in a wide range of plants. James Debbage and his expert team are always on hand to advise their visitors and plant shopping is particularly easy here with many plants displayed in problem solving groups which even the most novice gardener will understand.
The centre offers a bespoke hanging basket planting service using their large range of homegrown plants with customers invited to return their empties for refills which the team then grows-on. This year Green Pastures are expanding their range of big ‘instant’ plants and a new website and online shop offers click and collect for a range of products.
In 2015 Green Pastures invested in a beautiful wooden building that’s become home of an award-winning restaurant (twice EDP Norfolk Food Awards Winners), widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading garden centre restaurants. During lockdown chefs have been busy baking pies and cakes for their onsite farm shop.
Another Green Pastures claim to fame is they’re one of a tiny handful of garden centres to include a post office too!
Urban Jungle, Beccles and Old Costessey, Norwich
Run by well known plantswoman Liz Browne, the Norfolk centre at Costessey, near Norwich, opened in 2001, with the one at Beccles in Suffolk following in 2017. Both offer exotic and unusual plants for the home and garden – and some of them are truly spectacular. You’ll find some great bamboo and grasses, plus banana plants, palms, tree ferns, gingers, agaves, succulents and more. Both spots have quirky cafés which use organic, seasonal ingredients to produce tasty dishes and mention must go to the super coffee. There are plenty of comfy sofas among the leaves, and sites are dog friendly, too. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly.
Bawdeswell Garden Centre, near Dereham and Reepham
This is a big site in mid Norfolk with a wide range of plants, equipment, books, garden furniture, water features and garden buildings on offer. There is a lovely selection of firepits at present, and both bedding plants and herbs are starting to arrive as temperatures improve. Reeve’s Larder is a handy onsite shop selling a good selection of local produce, while there is also the Reeve’s Café which serves everything from breakfast onwards. Be sure to look around the Millenium Garden, with its fountain and circular pond, for inspiration, while the Bluebell Square indoor shopping centre has a bit of everything from must have gifts to footwear, handbags, silk flowers and toys!
Occupying a prime spot in Norwich, this garden centre is a one stop shop for the green fingered. All bases are covered, with a comprehensive selection of plants, trees, bulbs and more, with the centre’s roses always a popular choice. Summer favourites such as barbecues, garden furniture, spas, and firepits catch the eye and there are many gift ideas, clothing options, houseware and foodie treats available, too. Add in a pet store, an onsite kitchenalia store and a popular café, where you can tuck into anything from morning coffee to a three-course lunch. Quality is always assured here and there are lots of staff on hand to offer help and advice – and there’s a large car park which always helps.
Holt Garden Centre, Kelling, Holt
This is set in a charming spot, close to the coast, in North Norfolk, and part of the Kelling Estate. It has just benefitted from a £1.25m refurbishment and is now an attractive, airy and spacious centre which has plenty for garden lovers to enjoy. The range of plants is impressive and there is also much on an ‘outdoor living’ theme, with some stylish garden furniture options. Add in clothing departments, a pet area, barbecues, books, tools, seeds and much more. There is a new food and drink area called The Garden Terrace which offers a wide selection of food and drink options, plus new wash rooms, entrance, outdoor plant area and home and gift room, packed with gorgeous pieces for all ages.
Aylsham Garden Centre
Now run by Gary and Brenda Groucott of Wymondham Garden Centre, the couple bring more than 20 years’ experience to their new venture. Apart from a wide selection of plants, trees, bedding plants and more, there is a very good farm shop packed with local produce. There’s a lovely friendly feel to the centre and deliveries look like they are arriving daily – the hanging baskets caught our eye!
- Please note, the centre cafés are not open at present due to Covid restrictions but many expect to reopen from April 12.
Seek our Woodgate Nursery on the edge of Aylsham, Taverham Garden Centre, near Norwich, is good, Overstrand Garden Centre, near Cromer, gets good reports, Thorpe Plant Centre, near Norwich, is building a solid reputation, A G Meales and Sons at Stalham has been going strong for years and Peter Beales Roses, at Attleborough, is great for roses, obviously, and Thetford Garden Centre is another Feast favourite.