Blackheath Village, SE3
This is the kind of yummy, rather posh gardening shop that it’s unlikely we’ll see in Greenwich just at the moment, the nearest equivalent being the lovely florist in Royal Hill, though it’s not quite the same. It is extremely tasteful in every respect ( a tad too tasteful, possibly?) and I wander around it like a little girl in Claire’s Accessories, dazzled by all the finery but wondering whether my pocket money will actually stretch to anything at all.
To be honest that’s not a very good analogy at all. Claire’s Accessories sells cheap tat and even the poorest little ballerina can normally afford something. But cheap – in any sense of the word – is not what Hortus is about. Quality is the name of the game here, and though you’ll pay for it, there is no doubt that whatever you pick up here will last longer than one party for under-10s. (That’s enough dodgy analogies – Ed.)
OK, back to the gardening. Outside Hortus sits a selection of beautiful, fashionable plants, ranging from the simple to the exotic, and another selection of lovely, lovely pots to put them in. I am always particularly taken with the blue-and-white ceramic pots that come pre-weathered. I WILL buy one of those at some point.
Inside, there are lots of gardening accessories that I would say are intended more as presents – either for friends or as a personal treat – than as basics. Gorgeous gloves, pastel tools, curious ornaments and objets d’art. Not sure about the terracotta ‘slug catcher’ (because if it works, at some point it needs to be emptied – yeuch) but all the unusual gadgets and pretty versions of old Victorian curios are perfect for a gardening friend.
If you’re not into gardens but you like being IN gardens, there is loads of ‘outdoor living’ stuff – barbecues, picnic gear and dozens and dozens of candles and candle holders. Once again, this is no bargain basement, but it’s all LOVELY and lovely has to be paid for.
Out back there’s a tiny gravel area with all the architectural plants, fibreclay and cast iron planters in traditional and contemporary designs and curious ornaments. I particularly like the potting bench (obviously not for sale) which really feels like it gets used.
Back inside again, they have a little selection of cheese and wine accessories – like labels for cellars, decanters and cheese knives. There’s a small selection of books and other gifty-type things – everything beautifully and tastefully displayed. It’s somewhere to visit for birthday presents. And one day I will actually buy something for me…
Apparently they also do floristry, landscaping and garden maintenance, though the website is a bit minimal on detail…