Battling the crowds in a city-centre high street can make Christmas shopping a stressful event, so the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is encouraging shoppers to visit their local garden centre which has everything you could need under one roof.
Hundreds of garden centres across the country are currently bustling with activity in the run up to Christmas and full to the brim of festive ideas. Whilst Christmas trees, poinsettias and mistletoe are on the top of everyone’s list, garden centres also offer the consumer convenience by stocking a large array of gifts in one place. With many garden centres also providing Santa’s grottos, fine foods in their caf?, children’s events and a mixture of indoor and outdoor shopping, there is no better place to visit this Christmas.
Ideas for festive plants include the holly tree – the forgotten Christmas tree. Although highly linked to Christmas, holly is not just a decoration. The Holly tree is a beautiful and versatile garden plant in its own right.
The Christmas cactus (botanically known as?Schlumbergera?or?Zygocactus) is a beautiful holiday plant and blooms at Christmas time if cared for properly, whilst the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) is one of the easier and most rewarding garden plants to grow, They have the ability to bloom in the darkest months of the year when everything else is frozen solid to make them a valuable asset to any garden.
Many HTA member garden centres up and down the country have been getting into the festive spirit with events to entice customers through the doors.
Harehatch Sheeplands?in Twyford has an ice rink on site with disco music and artificial snow to get customers in the party mood. Reindeer will be at?The Old Railway Line Garden Centre?in Powys throughout December before they help Santa deliver all his presents on Christmas Eve.
Santa arrived in style at?Merryhatton Garden Centre, East Lothian by doing a fly past in a micro light over the store, before meeting up with Mrs Claus at the micro light centre and being driven over to Merryhatton in a classic 1964 fire engine!
Waterperry Gardens?in Oxfordshire will also be open during the festive period for family fun with ?Find Santa?s Reindeer? running until the 30th December.
Squires Garden Centres?across the South East are showing Christmas films in the cinema. Children can join the playful elves to see Boris the Dog in his special effects 4D film adventure, before continuing the journey to visit Santa with a rare chance to see inside his special toy workshop, before he dashes off to load up his sleigh.
Santa was transported to?Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre?in Taunton aboard North Petherton Pentathlon Carnival Club?s ?Wizard of Oz? themed tractor float and will be in his grotto every weekend until the big day.
Millbrook Garden Centres?are offering breakfast and supper with Santa in their stores in Gravesend, Crowborough and Highgrove.? Customers will be transported into a winter wonderland with lots of fun on the way, children will get the chance to meet Santa in his grotto and receive a Christmas gift.
Burleydam Garden Centre?in the Wirral once has again has donkeys in their nativity stable and will be offering children for a Christmas ride.
The Walled Nursery?in Kent is running Christmas wreath making workshops throughout December, which includes the use of more unusual varieties of decorations including crab apples and Brussels sprouts.
Bents Garden and Home?in Warrington are offering children a Little Face of Christmas photo shoot in store with the digital image being used to make your own Christmas cards.
Chessington Garden Centre?in Surrey are running Christmas circus, a 60 minute show, packed full of family fun and entertainment which is sure to be a winner, whilst?Lakeside Garden Centre?in Telford are offering a round the world experience in their store, starting at the South Pole with penguins and finishing at the North Pole with seals, huskies and polar bears, wallabies, armadillos and meerkats., with proceeds being donated to Help for Heroes.