My resolve to tidy my small front garden before the autumn turns into a bigger job than I planned. By the time I’ve pruned the trees, pulled up the weeds, and rescued the periwinkle from the ivy, I’m gazing at a surprisingly large empty space. Next step: to refill it. Next stop: the garden centre.
Three days in a row, I pop into the one in Nailsworth, emerging each time with an armful of pots. One by one, I plant my purchases, choosing each site carefully, as if placing the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But by the end of day three, there are still some spaces. I resign myself to a fourth shopping trip. This could prove to be an expensive week.
But before I set off next morning, I must stop at Hawkesbury Upton Post Office to buy a stamp. On my way up the path I spot a tray of plants for sale. There’s a pansy in just the shade of purple I want to match my periwinkle. I check the price: just 20p. The garden centre till receipts flash up in my memory. Their prices were ten times higher. I rummage around in the tray in search of further bargains. I find a lovely sage for 35p: perfect for my colour scheme. Dropping some coins in the honesty box, I wonder why I bothered with the garden centre when this humble little tray was just yards from my door. It’s an added bonus that these plants were raised in the village – it means they will thrive in my garden too.
It makes me wonder whether I can source the other item on my garden shopping list so close to home and at a comparable price. I’m after a bench. I know I won’t get much change from £200 at the garden centre. Then I remember a little while ago I drove past some home-made garden seats for sale outside a house in Horton. Before I can be tempted to hit the garden centre, I nip down the hill and discover I can secure two lovely chairs for just £20 a throw.
So no more lining the pockets of garden retailers and chain stores for me: I’m going to be shopping much closer to home in future. Globalisation – who needs it? Give me villagisation any day.
(This post was written for Hawkesbury Parish News, October 2011 issue – now on sale in the Hawkesbury Village Shop and Hawkesbury Upton Post Office!)