May 28, 2023

Garden Centre Shopping Tips with Frankie Flowers 

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Gardening may be a leisure activity, but shopping at a garden centre in spring can be a full-contact sport! For avid gardeners, being at the garden centre is like being a kid in a candy store. So many colourful annuals, delicious veggies, flowering shrubs, stunning perennials, and breathtaking trees! Where is a gardener to start? It’s easy to get swept away into a sea of colour, fill your cart, and then get home and think, “Where is it all going to go?”

To get the most out of your garden trip this spring, arm yourself with this early spring checklist and create a master plan. I hope these tips help you leave the greenhouse with everything you need to create a stunning garden this spring. 

Time It Well!

Sunny days on the weekend in spring are BUSY. Planting is on everyone’s minds as we’re all excited to get out into the garden. Peak hours are generally Saturday and Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm. 

Avoid the rush and head to the garden centre during the week as soon as it opens. You’ll have the first pick and won’t have to wade through the crowds. There’s nothing quite like being the first one in the greenhouse every morning. It’s cooler; the dew is still on the leaves, flowers have just been watered, and the stock has been replenished. 

Another good time to head over is a rainy day. Fewer people are in the greenhouse, and it’s also the perfect time to plant. 

Create a Game Plan

It’s easy to get carried away and want one of everything when you step inside a garden centre bursting with colourful blooms. Go in with a plan, knowing the location you need to fill. Look back at last year’s season and note any holes that need to be filled. 

Here are a few questions to answer when creating your gardening plan: 

  • Are you looking for annuals or perennials? (Annuals last one season, while perennials come back year after year). 
  • If you’re looking for perennials, what time of year do you want them to bloom? (a balance of spring/summer/fall blooms will ensure colour all season). 
  • How much sun does this spot get every day? (Full sun is considered 6+ hours of daylight)
  • How much room is there for this plant to grow? (Do you need a tall plant, ground cover, or something in between?)

Pick the Perfect Plants

Once you know what you’re looking for, take the time to pick out the healthiest plants. Start at a reputable garden centre that takes good care of its stock. If you end up with plants that have diseases or insects, they can spread to the healthy flowers in your garden. 

Look for disease-free healthy plants with lush green leaves. While it may be tempting to grab the plants in full bloom, you’re much better off looking for lots of buds for long-lasting bloom power.  

Read tags for growing info, planting and blooming times, light requirements, and how quickly it will spread. Watch out for anything called a vigorous grower – that’s code for “will spread everywhere!” 

Seek out free plants. Look for multipacks, two shoots instead of one, or plants you can divide. 

Check out guarantees and refund policies. Not all garden centres have them, and not all plants are covered. 

Garden centres are fun and busy places in the spring. Plants can sell out fast! It’s best not to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. You gotta move quickly and snap up those perfect plants when you see them. Just one more garden centre shopping tip – know your last frost date so you don’t plant too early

Before heading to the Garden Centre, peek at these 6 Garden Trends for 2023.

Happy shopping!