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Gardening has never appealed to me. It was something I swore I’d never do. In fact, when I bought a house a few months ago, I deliberately bought one without that pesky patch of grass surrounded by what I believed were called ‘borders’.
However, my house does have a yard – a large one. The yard was scruffy when I moved in. I thought I’d better smarten it up ready for the barbecue season, so I whitewashed the high walls. They looked absolutely great.
Trouble was, the yard looked very bare. Not exactly inviting enough for a barby. The place needed something more.
Perhaps a potted topiary tree or two would look nice. After all, if I bought them ready grown I’d only have to water the things, wouldn’t I? That wasn’t gardening, was it?
I bought the trees. Three of them. They are gorgeous.
Two weeks later, something went wrong with my bay tree. I didn’t know what to do. I know nothing about trees, except that they are trees. I asked people who knew about gardening what could be wrong, but without coming to inspect my tree they had no idea.
I did a search on the web and came across crocus.co.uk, and a gardening obsession was born.
The Site ========
The site looks fantastic. Lush images of beautiful flowers and plants on a deep purple background draw you in and keep you transfixed.
The site loads quickly and navigation is easy via a ‘look in the garden shed’ menu. There is also a search facility which brings up rapid and very accurate results.
The Sections ============
FIND THE RIGHT PLANT
In this section garden designs and plants are suggested for you based on your personality (e.g. are you a romantic, in a rush, keen but clueless etc.) and the type of garden you have (e.g. water garden, roof garden, shady garden).
This section is really useful, as I’ve found to my cost that it really does matter what kind of garden you have as planting the wrong plants means that they simply won’t grow.
Here they suggest good combinations of plants that flourish together and look good together. And for £30 you can send them a sketch of your garden and they will suggest plants and designs for you.
Crocus sells everything a gardener could want, from tools to furniture, to weed killers to fantastic plants. And all the plants they sell are superbly displayed and have plenty of advice on whether they are suitable for you or not – e.g. whether the plant likes sun or shade, how hardy it is, its planting and flowering times.
Prices are fairly keen. Crocus aren’t the cheapest around but they’re not the dearest either, and their quality is guaranteed. Not only do they ‘insure’ against their plants not dying of natural causes within one year of you receiving them, but if you order a plant and don’t want it you can return it for a full refund within 28 days.
Here you can email several of the people at Crocus with any gardening queries, whether they relate to shopping at Crocus or plant and garden care in general. You can also sign up to receive regular email gardening tips from the man that is Titchmarsh.
You will also find the excellent Plant Doctor in this section. Basically you can diagnose your plant troubles from a series of pictures and get just the advice you need. It was here that I found out that my bay had weevils, and here that I learned how to get rid of them (and it has worked).
NEWS AND REVIEWS
This section contains loads of great info, including articles from Charlie Dimmock, advice on what to do in the garden this week, advice on going organic, and even weather forecasts for the coming few days so you can plan your gardening time.
ORDERING AND DELIVERY
Buying goods via the usual ‘shopping basket’ facility is quick and easy. You do not need to register in order to buy. Security is high throughout. Delivery costs range from £1 and rise for more bulky items, and they deliver in their own vans throughout England, Wales and parts of Scotland. If you’re in North Scotland or N. Ireland, they will deliver plants by courier and you have to ring for q quotation.
Anything Else? =============
Not that I can think of, except to stress again what a superb site this is and to highly recommend it to you.
It won the Garden Writers’ Website of the Year Award and rightly so.
Whether you’re an expert, a potterer or a complete novice, log on at www.crocus.co.uk and prepare to be seduced!