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VAN HAGE GARDEN CENTRE, WARE

 

VAN HAGE GARDEN CENTRE WARE

 

 

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Van Hage

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Conservatory Furniture attractively displayed
Conservatory furniture at Van Hage

Wide selection of houseplants

Jams, pickles and conserves
Jams

Well displayed kitchen equipment
Kitchen goods

Lots of toys
Toys

 

Description

Cafe

Contact

Opening Hours

Christmas

Furniture

Northern Polytunnels

REVIEW SUMMARY

FOR
Large outdoor plant area.
Covered walkways outside.
Large range of healthy looking plants.
Miniature railway and small zoo  for children.

AVERAGE
Some prices are high and some prices are low.

AGAINST
None

 

VAN HAGE GARDEN CENTRE, WARE

The Van Hage Garden Centre in Great Amwell, Ware won the 2010 Best Plant Area in the UK award from the Garden Centre Association. The area is indeed well laid out but best in the UK? Not in our opinion. We have reviewed over two hundred UK garden centres over the past few years and several other garden centres surpass Van Hage in Ware.

THE OUTSIDE AREA AT VAN HAGE, WARE
In common with many modern garden centres, the plant area is principally paved and on one level. This gives limited ability for the designers to give the area character although they have tried their best. Several centre-piece displays break up the area and in spring and early summer the area is full of colour. Several massive plants are displayed which further break up the area and make it interesting.

The paths are solid and wide with all areas accessible by wheelchair users, they were all free from obstruction. It's a large plant area even for a big garden centre but the signage is poor. There are only a few overhead signs and none as you enter the area. As an example, if you are looking for roses there is no indication where they are, the same is true fruit trees and other plant groups. The shrub section is arranged alphabetically though which helps.

The area nearest the main garden centre is covered and the main pathways are covered which makes shopping in this area easier during a rainy period.  To the right side of the plants area lots of compost, stoneware and other "hard" gardening goods are displayed. fencing is also well featured, lots of it to choose from.

THE PLANTS
The plants at Van Hage in Ware all looked in good condition and well-cared for. We are not aware that the plants are home-grown so they have been bought in from other suppliers. For those who require assistance in plants selection there is a large, manned plant information centre in the middle of the plant area.

Because the plant area is so large there is plenty of room to stock a wide variety of plants. Specialist areas include roses, ornamental trees and grasses.

Prices were on the high side. Example prices are 8.99 for a potentilla, this went up to 24.99 for a very large potted potentilla. If you are searching for larger potted plants then Van Hage may well have what you are looking for. Roses start at 7.99 and they have lots to choose from. Potting compost is 5.99 for a 60 litre bag or two for 10.

The hardy plants come with a guarantee but it's not clear how long that is. A large poster we saw declared the guarantee to be for two years but carved into the wooden supports of the covered plants are it declares the guarantee to be for five years. We suspect that the real guarantee is for two years because the poster is obviously more recent than the carving the wood. Either way, it's a worthwhile guarantee because of the confidence it shows they have in their plants.

INSIDE VAN HAGE GARDEN CENTRE IN WARE
The interior sales area is principally open plan in the centre with specialist sales areas off set. It's a pleasant set-up with lots of wide paths only marred by the exposed metal girders in the dull ceiling. Piped music is not our choice but it's there at Van Hage in Ware for better or worse. Most areas are accessible for wheelchairs with a few exceptions.

The interior gardening section is well stocked and prices were on the cheap side. For instance 1 litre of tomato plant plant food was selling for only 2.99, the Miracle Gro was selling for a normal 4.99. Branded spades and forks were selling for only 12.99 and stainless steel ones were priced at 19.99.

Other interior sales areas included books, cards, gifts, clothes, shoes, an excellent range of up market barbecues, gifts, floristry and kitchen goods. The indoor plants were particularly interesting. Lots of variety, well-displayed and in good condition. The popularity in garden bird watching has not been missed at Van Hage in Ware. There is a large area devoted entirely to bird foods and bird tables.

All Van Hage garden centres are well known for their range of garden and conservatory furniture. All up market and some costing well over a thousand pounds. If you have the money then you'll find it here. We particularly liked the way the furniture is on show at the Great Amwell branch. Matching sets of furniture are displayed in small offset areas of the sales area.

DISABLED ACCESS
With exception of a few areas in the interior sales floor wheelchair access is excellent. The floors are flat and even with no significant slopes. Wheelchairs are available for free at the entrance.

OTHER STUFF
Car park - The car park is huge with a level tarmac surface. It is adjacent to the garden centre but a small walk to the garden centre is required if you park in the furthest edges of the car park.
Pet Centre - There is no dedicated pet shop at this garden centre and no live pets are sold
Aquatics - There was a sign saying that an aquatics centre would be opening in March 2011.
Water Features -
Sheds and Greenhouses - Van Hage in Ware is an excellent place to visit if you are looking for garden sheds, buildings or greenhouses. There are lots of them and they are well displayed. These are all provided by the Garden Buildings Centre.
Toilets - Gents, ladies, baby-changing and toilets for the disabled. Unusually there were also ladies and gents toilets in the car park. All were modern and in good working order.

MINIATURE RAILWAY
There is a miniature railway on site for the kids at Van Hage in Ware. It is open year round a at weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. The Saturday opening times are 11 to 5, and on Sundays 11 to 4.30. It is run by the East Herts Miniature Railway Society and has carried over a million passengers! Tickets cost just 80p each which represents excellent value for money.

CHILDREN'S ZOO
On the left hand side of the outside sales area is a small children's zoo which houses small animals. It's set around a pleasant grassed area which has an interesting topiary centre-piece of a large dinosaur. There is no charge for entrance.

VAN HAGE CIRCUS
John Lawson's Circus will be at Van Hage, Great Amwell, Ware from Friday 24th August until Sunday 2nd September. Shows are three times daily at 12.00, 2.00 and 4.00 each show lasting about one hour. Tickets cost a very reasonable 6.00 and can be booked online or at the garden centre. pre-booking is advised. See here for more information.

VAN HAGE SKATING ICE RINK AT GREAT AMWELL, WARE 2012


The Ice rink will return again to Van Hage Great Amwell in 2012 over the Christmas period. As always it's a massive 600sq m size, big enough for over 400 people at any one time. They will have a heated area for viewing plus a cafe specially for the ice rink. Skates are available for hire.
The ice rink opens on 14 November 2012 and closes on 6th January 3012. Skates are available for hire and sessions last for 45 minutes - if you have the energy. For more details, click here

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We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this independent review of the Van Hage Garden Centre, Ware. Remember that it is our opinion and may be the result of one visit only. If you are the owner of the Van Hage Garden Centre in Ware and want to discuss this review with us then please contact us by going to our "contact us" page which can be found here.

Description

Cafe

Contact

Opening Hours

Christmas

Furniture

 
Entrance to Van Hage, Ware

Covered plants area
Covered area for seasonal plants

Excellent selection of garden buildings
Garden Buildings

GBC Greenhouses at Van Hage in Ware
Greenhouses

ENLARGE PICTURES BY CLICKING THEM

Five year plant guarantee carved into wooden beam
Five year guarantee is carved into the beam

Now a two year guarantee
Now a two year guarantee in more modern poster

Manned outdoor information centre
Information Centre

Miniature railway open at weekends and during holidays
Miniature railway

A good saelection of ornamental trees at Van Hage in Ware
Ornamental trees

Topiary display
Topiary

Children's zoo
Small animal zoo


 

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