I remember being taken to Webbs as a small child. Back then it was little more than a garden centre and was located in the thatched building around which the current centre is built. Dating from the mid 1800s when Edward Webb first began trading, by the middle of the century Webbs had been appointed official Seed merchants to Queen Victoria (and remains that to Queen Elizabeth II). Nowadays, under the control of Edward’s great-great-grandson, it wins award after award and is one of the largest family-owned garden centres in the country and, like so many others, is a great deal more than just a garden centre. I used to take my small children, and in recent years, my grandchildren here. For the price of an ice-cream, a couple of happy hours can be spent in the play area or ‘trying out’ the summerhouses and conservatories that are in abundance.
The pet department is pristine and the small animals appear to be well cared for. Unfortunately the rabbits, my favourites, were not coming out to play. Apart from one furry bottom, they were all hidden away. My grandsons are fascinated by the many fish and small lizard-type animals.
The Riverside Walk is a tranquil and very pretty place for a summer picnic, as well as a showpiece for many of the plants and flowers that are for sale. In winter it holds a different kind of attraction. Beyond the fence you can just about see, is a deep marshy pond surrounded by bulrushes and a huge wild area which in early summer attracts all manner of wildlife.
The food hall is amazing though expensive, but it’s always good for finding a foodie gift. The enormous restaurant with a recently added gelateria is nice for a treat.
Of course, in a modern garden centre one could almost forget that they sell plants too. What a marvellous display of bromeliads.
A trip to the magical Christmas department was, for my family of little ones, the start of Christmas; in those days we enjoyed the seasonal tableaus. Nowadays they offer fewer of these but have a huge selection of decorations and it’s still an enjoyable visit. Last year we were welcomed at the entrance by singing reindeer, this year by snowmen and penguins.
I love to look at the Christmas table settings:
And the decorations are stunning
Children love to look at the large Victorian town scene. I wonder how many of these they sell. One would spend thousands putting together a good sized display
One year I spent an hour driving a small granddaughter around the local estates looking at the outdoor house decorations which some favour. Perhaps they bought some of them at Webbs. Sometimes it’s nice to look even with no intention of buying
Yes, I do consider it wanton consumerism and I have no desire for my home to look like any of this. But children find it magical and I wouldn’t deny them it. They’ll grow up all too soon to find that life’s not really like that.