From buds to breakfasts

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Is a garden centre merely a retail space for avid gardeners who want to enhance their beautifully manicured gardens or homeowners who want potted plants on their patio? It’s more than that, if the success of GardenShop is anything to go by.

Through rapid urbanisation, green spaces have become a focal point for people who find themselves in high density surrounds with few safe open areas to relax. Garden centres have become an oasis for many urban dwellers; destinations to enjoy the outdoors with children, family and friends in beautiful surrounds. They offer an ideal location where the kids can play while the adults can relax and enjoy something to eat or drink, where ladies can wander in search of a gift and couples can seek out a new item of patio furniture for their home. In short, garden centres have become a new sanctuary where the public can escape the hustle and bustle of city life and every family member can enjoy themselves

“Finding on-trend, nature-centric greenery and bringing it into your space no longer means opening the car boot and filling it with compost and hardy perennials. Garden centres have an equal selling area indoors and out, catering for a wide variety of shoppers. They also offer a green destination where a bit of recreation and outdoor play areas are some of the attractions,” says Godfrey Budler, CEO of GardenShop.

A large garden centre such as GardenShop offers a host of amenities, merging retail and leisure space with ‘liveability’. They are also a melting pot for environmental and social learning. For example, at Bryanston Centre’s GardenShop, Cherry Tomatoes Gardening Club offers children between the ages of three and seven the opportunity to get planting, nurturing an appreciation for nature from an early age. This promotes healthy lifestyles.

“Being amongst nature is a sensory experience that stirs regenerative processes in our bodies and minds. It has a therapeutic value and can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. Greenery is about going outside regularly and finding value in doing any activity in nature. It means letting a connection to the environment enrich you, your family and your community,” adds Budler.

Visiting an outdoor/indoor area means families can socialise, strengthen connections and bond with friends in a peaceful public space. “Beyond providing a retail experience, we’re building a sense of community. You don’t feel as if you’re going into a garden centre. While our horticultural specialists are on hand to offer scientific information and teach about history of certain plant species, shrubs and trees, we are giving something back to the community, and that chimes closely with our values and interests. Our teams are a repository of skills and expertise, while our venues are a space for everyone to enjoy.”

Instead of staying indoors during the winter season, why not visit a local garden centre in your area? It’s the perfect antidote to the stressful world we live in today. The tactile element of gardening and getting your hands dirty has proven, time and again, to be therapeutic; and there is nothing more wonderful than teaching children from a young age the benefits and reward of growing your own food. Watch out, too, for regular speaker breakfasts; exciting social occasions where you can mingle while updating your gardening skills.

GardenShop has stores in Broadacres, Bryanston, FloraFarm, Menlo Park and Parktown North.

For more information, visit www.gardenshop.co.za or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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