Because of the sheer size of the garden we are restoring, all 1.6 acres of it, we are very focused on saving money where we can. Many of the plants that are now happily thriving in our freshly turned borders started out as cuttings from our previous garden. I also collected hundreds of seeds and stored them safely in jars until we were in a position to sow them. We now have a collection of crocosmia and echinacea seedlings which whilst they may not flower for a couple of years, when they do their blooms will seem so much more beautiful.

Of course we cannot rely on seeds and cuttings alone. We are incredibly lucky to live close to one of the best garden centres I have come across. The St John’s Plant Centre in Clacton really is the most incredible place. Unlike other garden centres you cannot predict what they will have in stock, however, this is offset by great value with plants at half the price you will find them in other places.

So imagine my delight to find their summer sale includes a 50% discount on all plants. I came away with 24 plants for £68 including a beautiful weeping acer. The acer along with some variegated ivy and beautiful little cyclamens have now brightened up the entrance to our house in a large blue pot that was crying out for some plants.


Whilst there is no guarantee of what plants you will find at St John’s, their prices and stock levels more than make up for it. Definitely worth a visit.

Opening hours and directions to St John’s Plant Centre can be found on their website at

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