Best garden centres and nurseries in London – where to buy plants and pots

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ou’ve got four whole days to sort out your outside space this weekend in readiness for that sort of glorious hot summer that memories are made of (we can dream, right?). But first, shopping.

Here are London’s best independent garden centres and nurseries where you’ll find everything you need to get your garden up to scratch for the sunny season.

Battersea Flower Station, SW11

Owner John Schofield prepares plants for delivery at Battersea Flower Station

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Tucked beside the railway bridge on Battersea Park Road, Battersea Flower Station is one of the coolest places to buy plants and cut flowers. Run by a wonderful team, the space under the bunting and fairy lights is where you’ll find plants for sun or shade and greenhouses full of tropical leafy goodness.

Walworth Garden, SE11

A magical oasis just down the road from Kennington Tube station, Walworth Garden offers a wide selection of indoor and outdoor plants. As a charity, profits are reinvested in training the next generation of gardeners. Usefully, you can find full-sized versions of many plants they sell growing in the garden itself to give you a sense of how big that delicate seedling might one day become. Not your typical garden centre.

Mahdis Plants and Flowers, Burdett Road, E3

This unassuming high street shop opposite Mile End Park is a treasure trove of horticultural delights. You’ll find instant colour, jungle houseplants and, with a bit of a rummage through the jam-packed shop, you’ll find seeds for vegetables you might not have grown before.

Petersham Nurseries, TW10

This famous garden centre is arranged in old glasshouses, with a fabulous cafe

/ Alamy Stock Photo

Less garden centre and more garden shopping experience, Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is a trove of plants and antique garden accessories. Arranged in and around old glasshouses, you’ll find wire plant stands and heavy wooden shutters that might once have been on the walls of a French chateau. Make sure you leave time to visit the gorgeous cafe, too.

Camden Garden Centre, NW1

Operated as a social enterprise, profits from plant sales at Camden Garden Centre go towards training young people with the skills they need to get employed. They have a great selection of plants and pots, and if you’re short of a trowel, spade or a pair of secateurs, it’s a great place to restock the toolshed.

N1 Garden Centre, N1

Hidden in the back streets of De Beauvoir Town, N1 Garden Centre packs a lot into a limited space. You’ll find an amazing selection of indoor and outdoor plants, including horticultural oddities rarely seen elsewhere. It also offers a decent range of terracotta and decorative pots. Sister to N1 Garden Centre is W6 Garden Centre, a short walk from Ravenscourt Underground station.

Croxted Road Garden Centre, SE24

Croxted Road Garden Centre is unpretentious with helpful staff

/ Alamy Stock Photo

Family-run for 40 years, this is perhaps one of London’s last ‘traditional’ garden centres. Croxted Road Garden Centre can’t be missed — plants line the pavement when it’s open. Unpretentious with staff always happy to help, it offers a great selection of plants for instant impact among stone statues, bird baths and garden supplies.

Your Spring Bank Holiday shopping list

  • Secateurs, snips or scissors (try Niwaki)
  • Depending on space, a couple of bags of good quality organic peat-free compost (try Sylvagrow or Dalefoot)
  • A hand trowel or a hori hori (again, try Niwaki)
  • Plant supports, something natural like bamboo or hazel
  • Strawberry plants for fruit this year (ask for early and late varieties for the longest season)
  • Summer bedding plants such as pelargoniums, petunias, begonias – they’re short-lived but packed full of colour (just keep them sheltered as they could still be damaged by frost)
  • Gardening headwear – something to keep the sun off is a must, but it doesn’t have to be boring
  • A good watering can – this should work more like a shower than a water gun, you might just need a new rose for the end

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