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The Gardener's Centre concentrates almost exclusively on growing and selling plants. The other is lifestyle based.
The history of Coolings Gardener's Garden Centre dates back over a hundred years ago to early in 1913 when Arthur Cooling tried his hand at growing vegetables for sale to the locals. Soon after the end of World war I he bought a small plot of land in 1920 and took the second step in his career, buying a large greenhouse.
The business developed over the next 35 years until Arthur's son, Michael, combined forces with his father. In 1955 a small garden centre was established on the site and Michael grew the business to the point where space simply ran out. In 1990 the business bought a new 14 acre site (the current Rushmore Hill site) and transferred the business there.
This new garden centre developed and now includes a huge plants nursery, the garden centre and Arthur's cafe. It remained almost exclusively plant and gardener focused and the formula worked even in competition with likes of modern garden centre chains like Notcutts and Wyevale Garden Centres.
At the same time other more all-encompassing garden centres tempted the Cooling family to search out a site for a new garden centre which would be more lifestyle oriented. When Wyevales (now Wyevale Garden Centres) put one of their garden centres up for sale just 1.4 miles down the road the business bought it and Coolings second garden centre was established.
The plants nursery at the Gardener's Centre is massive. It occupies 4.5 acres, grows over 1 million bedding plants and shrubs each year which are sold in their two garden centres. The growing process is so automated that they can move stock from the plants nursery to the garden centre in ten minutes if demand exceeds the stock on display.
The garden centre plants area extends to a massive three acres, occupied almost exclusively by plants. This places the range and number of plants available on site as one of the top three largest for a garden centre in the UK.
It's difficult to exaggerate the number and choice of plants, shrubs and trees available, but you can be assured that the whatever your requirement you will find it at the Gardener's Garden Centre. Over 65% of the plants are grown on site and the quality is tip top. Hardy plants come with a five year guarantee.
The paths are principally hard paved and wide enough for wheelchair access. the design of such a large area is excellent and signs are large and clear. The plants nursery is partially open to the public and they conduct regular visits to see exactly how the plants are grown.
Coolings were voted best UK garden centre by Which? in 2010 and 2011 which drew some strong remarks from Nicholas Marshall, chief executive of Wyevale Garden Centres. This was not really surprising give that Wyevale Garden Centres were placed fourth from the bottom by Which? members.
The interior space is devoted entirely to selling garden accessories and the range is extensive with good value prices.
Arthur's cafe has undergone a recent refurbishment which has transformed the surroundings making it a very pleasant place for a snack, main meal or just a coffee. It's a very light and airy cafe with mixed furnishings many being solid wood.
All is not perfect though after the redevelopment especially as far as main meals are concerned. Visit for a snack, cake and tea / coffee and you will be pleasantly surprised with the service and quality. Visit for a meal though and the service can be significantly disappointing, often with long waiting times which inevitably causes food quality to suffer.
Arthur's cafe was awarded the top five star rating for food hygiene by the Food Standards agency when they visited in February 2013.
Other garden centres nearby in the Kent area include Polhill Garden Centre in Sevenoaks, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre in Sidcup and Coolings Green and Pleasant just over a mile away.
|Monday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
|Tuesday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
|Wednesday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
|Thursday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
|Friday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
|Saturday||9.00am||5.00pm (5.30 April - June)|
8 May 2014
Reward cards are the new Garden Centre gold dust ...
6 May 2014
Wyevale Garden Centres plant lifetime guarantee ...
30 April 2014
Bosworth Garden Centre building houses news.
27 March 2014
Wyevale Garden Centres
buys 140th ...
05 March 2014
£2.4 million on food! ...
08 October 2013
takes Fermoy's lease ...
27 June 2013
14 June 2013
GCG buys Barton
21 May 2013
Sales down by 25%
for 2013 first quarter
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