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Every now and again an internet shopping service comes along that fits it's niche market perfectly. Crocus.co.uk is such an example. It offers plants, seeds, garden furniture and tools on it's website, which features a huge amount of free advice.
Crocus start you off with weekly offers and specials - and as many of the items on offer need to be sold or planted at certain times of the year, the content of the site is always changing.
Currently, they are offering flowers as displayed at the Chelsea flower show, together with excellent garden furniture items such as patio heaters (the heaters that run off gas), barbeques, solar powered garden lighting (how's that for an environmentally friendly option?) together with the usual tools, composts and fertilizers.
The plants seem to be of a very high quality, and there are a number of varieties on offer that you would have trouble finding elsewhere. Not only does the website offer you an array of advice regarding the care and treatment of each individual plant; but once you are registered with Crocus the system keeps a note of what you have ordered and automatically emails you with plant aftercare advice, suggesting that you might want to prune the plant or add fertilizer, as appropriate - a boon for those of us who aren't too green-fingered!
Special features and promotions are discovered on the site through the "what's in the garden shed?" link. Any items you wish to purchase are put into your virtual "wheelbarrow"!
The plants themselves are delivered by Crocus's own delivery service. They cover the south of England, the midlands up as far as Yorkshire. Deliveries to the north of England and Wales are made by courier. Currently they do not offer deliveries in Scotland, Isle of Wight or the Channel Islands.
Crocus' own delivery drivers are qualified horticulturalists, and offer advice on the doorstep regarding the plants you have purchased. They can even plant them out for you!
Crocus offer a full garden design service at £30 an hour - or if you prefer you might want to leave the whole thing to them - supply, design and planting! This is all available from the site.
Delivery charges are reasonable. £1 for seeds, and between £3.95 and £40 depending on the size of the order. All orders over £1000 (let's go mad!) are delivered free.
If you're interested in sorting out your garden this summer and getting some really special plants, you could do far worse than visit this site. They have gone to great lengths to ensure that the internet buying option offers real and distinct advantages so I hope this site, well.... blooms.