5 benefits of shopping local for your garden 

The RHS Hyde Hall garden centre in Chelmsford, Essex in England.

The RHS Hyde Hall garden centre in Chelmsford, Essex. - Credit: RHS/Mark Winwood

As the weather gets warmer, it’s the perfect time to revamp your garden with new plants and colours, creating the perfect backdrop for summer BBQs and lazy afternoons in the sun. Larissa Sheppard-Marsh, retail marketing executive for the garden centre at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hyde Hall Garden in Chelmsford, Essex, shares five ways you can benefit from shopping local for all your gardening needs.

1. Higher quality plants grown naturally

Buying locally often means the plants are grown from seeds in a local nursery in the UK – around 80 per cent of our stock is bought in from UK nurseries. Going to a reputable, local garden centre means you'll benefit from healthier plants that have been properly cared for. We want your plants to thrive, and we are that confident in the produce we supply that we have a five-year guarantee on all hardy plants, so if it dies, we will replace it free of charge when you show proof of purchase.

RHS Wisley Plant Centre

Locally grown plants at RHS Wisley garden centre. - Credit: RHS

2. Friendly team and support  

Whether you’re an expert gardener or buying your first fledgling seed, the RHS Hyde Hall garden centre is with you all the way. Our friendly team are always on-hand to provide tips and expert advice to help you get the most out of your plants, so take advantage of their expertise, knowledge and friendliness.

3. Supporting your community    

We have various initiatives for growing and gardening within our local communities, most recently May half term’s ‘get set, grow’. Planting the seeds (excuse the pun) for future generations is intrinsic to our ethos and everything we do here at the RHS.

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Children are naturally curious and we encourage them to get their hands dirty and grow their own produce, instilling a passion for nature and growing from an early age. Our garden centres provide the tools for children to start their gardening journey. Shopping local means building a relationship with gardening and your local community.

Child gardening and growing using tools provided by RHS garden centre Hyde Hall, Essex.

RHS garden centre advocates growing for children from a young age to inspire the next generation of gardeners. - Credit: RHS

4. Helping the environment and protecting our wildlife  

Shopping local helps save the natural habitat in more ways than you’d think. Supporting local nurseries and manufacturers means less carbon emissions and reduced air miles for the transportation of the plants and gifts we sell. We sell honey that’s made in the Hyde Hall bee garden and use local Essex-based nursery W D Smith for our plants, so we are championing the best of British whilst staying truly local.

RHS garden centres only sell peat-free compost and have pledged all of our plants to be peat-free by 2025. Peat is heavily mined from bogs and used for compost and plants. Farming is damaging to local ecosystems and the animals that reside there, and peat increases greenhouse gas levels when spreading its carbon across fields and gardens. We must be mindful of our environment, protecting it for the next generation of gardeners to enjoy.

Our garden centre also uses paper bags to help reduce the use of plastic and we encourage our plant pots and trays to be reused where possible.

Plants and flowers at RHS Wisley Plant Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.

Hanging baskets and planters at RHS Wisley plant centre. - Credit: RHS

5. Buy plants you might not find elsewhere  

W D Smith provide our garden centres with festival violas along with a wide range of unique bedding and vegetable plants. RHS offers a unique collection of flowers and plants to make your garden thrive.

We are lucky to have our garden centres situated next to a hub of inspiration in the form of our very own Royal Horticultural gardens. We have sections in our centres dedicated to RHS designs, seasonal plants and current themes, so you can shop the ‘look’ right from the gardens themselves.

So, shop local, save our environment and support your local community.

You don’t need to book to visit, but we do ask that you wear a mask when inside. We are open 10am-6pm Monday - Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.

Visit rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall/plan-your-visit/shopping-eating for more information or call us on 01245 402113.