Top 5 things to see and do at Seasons Garden Centre – Wilstead.

There are loads of places you can go to in Bedford to buy Garden equipment, plants and furniture but why not try a more local business for a change? Seasons Garden Centre is based in Wilstead, right next to Wixams just off the A6.  They have a second store just outside Bedfordshire further down the A6 in Burton Latimer, Northants.  They have been in operating for over 75 years so they should know a thing or two about what they sell and why.

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer it’s time to turn our attention to the garden. We start to think about entertaining outdoors and the possibility of a slim but wonderful chance of having a BBQ this summer. Sitting out with friends, drinking a glass or two of wine and enjoying the hard graft we’ve put into our garden.

I go to Seasons in Wilstead pretty much every week, I love to shop local and it’s also a great place to take children too.  I also have a challenging garden, which makes me a frequent visitor thanks to our house being a new build and the soil is pretty rubbish, so is the lawn.

So what are my top 5 favourite parts to the store?

1.Flowers, Plants & Trees:

Living on a new build estate brings with it a whole new level of gardening challenge. Firstly the rubbish soil, awful drainage to our lawn and the challenge to find plants that will survive. I have purchased several plants from Seasons, all of which have been excellent quality and of a reasonable price. That said, gardening is expensive and hence why I go back to the store regularly as we can’t afford to do everything in one go.  My front garden looks much nicer this year thanks to the new shrubbery I bought at the beginning of the year to replace the dead shrubs originally planted by the builder. I am also trying some ferns in the back garden to give a small border to our lawn. We have bought roses, lavender, climbers, buddleias and some perennial plants over the years and will continue to expand our garden each year thanks to Seasons. The lawn and garden needs regular food which we lovingly give it and any new plants are treated to new compost and old (rubbish) soil removed. Seasons have an extensive range as you walk into the store and I have never been disappointed with the range on offer.

The range of flowers, plants and trees is extensive and I have never come away thinking they needed to stock more. However of course you will find larger retailers who will offer rows upon rows of trees, shrubs etc . Personally I find it too overwhelming but it's personal taste and I do not claim to be an experience gardener,  just a homeowner looking to improve her home and garden.

2. Pet Shop with Ringo the talking parrot

My 2 sons and I love visiting the pet shop within Seasons. It’s big enough to spend a good half an hour looking at all animals, which include fish, rabbits, hamsters, budgies and canaries. They have a good selection of cat and dog food plus all the usual accessories too.  We recently bought a pet hamster from Seasons after falling in love with her. She is called Ninja and a very happy addition to our family. They had everything we needed when buying the hamster and a good selection of cages to choose from to suit all budgets. We loved all the little toys on offer for the hamsters but chose the traditional ball and hamster treats to start with. Total cost for everything was around £50.

The other big attraction to the pet shop is Ringo the talking Parrot. He is not for sale and lives permanently in the store. He talks occasionally and welcomes everyone into the store. He can bite so don’t get too close!

3.Café and Sunday Carvery

It’s usually quite when we go to visit the café and we always find a seat easily. A lot of people just come to the café for a coffee and a catch up and if you are local to Wixams it’s the perfect place. There is a wide selection of hot and cold food available at reasonable prices.  You can also buy cakes, biscuits and ice creams. On a Sunday they do a carvery from 12-2pm which is incredibly popular. You don’t need to book but you do need to arrive early as there is usually a queue. Beef is served every week with a guest meat also provided (Pork, Gammon or Turkey) The meat is supplied from a very popular butcher in the area called Woburn Country Foods. www.woburncountryfoods.com  Only £7.50 (at time of writing) per portion with a vegetarian option also available.

4.Dinosaur slide and swing

Whilst you are wandering around the plants/trees/shrubs outside you come across a rather fabulous Dinosaur slide and swing (for 2 children) Its quite retro in its look and appeal but a pleasant surprise as you wander round, it’s a hidden gem and one which I always smile at when I walk by it. My eldest boy who’s 5 can’t resist a go down the slide every time we visit.

5.Ornaments and Gifts

From candles, to clocks, jewellery, statues, books, birthday cards and photo frames. Seasons has a little bit of everything so perfect for buying for that someone who you are not really sure what to buy for.  Sometimes you just need a bit of inspiration and this store always delivers, especially for the older people in my life that I need to buy for. They even have pick n mix and a selection of traditional biscuits, sweets and treats on offer .

Seasonal items such as Christmas /Halloween decorations, lights and gifts are also available at the selected times. My top tip is to visit at Christmas as they have a great display for the children which is all for charity and the range of Christmas decorations and lights are lovely. We bought lights for the front of the house last Christmas and they looked wonderful. Santa also makes an appearance at selected times throughout December.

Other items on offer include:

Barbecues, Pizza ovens and Chimineas – they always have a great selection. I am tempted by a Chiminea but nervouse with young children so will wait a few years before buying one I think.

Fencing and stone paving - Not something I have purchased yet but its there just in case!

Lawnmowers- A good selection with a variety of brands on offer.

Garden Equipment- All the ususal bits and bobs needed for the novice and experience gardener

Cane, Pine & Garden Furniture: These include every year a lovely selection of Children’s garden furniture, all in miniature.

Sledges, Snow shovels : Its one of those purchases that you really should make but never do until it snows. Then you are desperately finding somewhere that sells them – well Seasons has them every winter.
DIY store located inside the building I go in there mostly to buy lightbulbs and batteries (who ever has enough of these?!) but you can also buy wallpaper, paints, kitchen wares, timber, tools and much more. Please note that these are separate businesses and you need to buy your purchases separately.
So to summarise, Seasons Garden Centre offer customers a huge range. It’s a great local independent and they are open 7 days a week. You can also check out the reviews on google here. They score a worthy 4.1 stars with 120 reviews at the time of writing.

Google reviews

Check out their website for the most up to date opening times, but at the time of writing this post they were:

Monday – Saturday 9.00am – 6.00pm
Sunday 11.00am – 5.00pm
Seasons Garden Centre
Bedford Rd, Bedford MK45 3H

http://www.seasonsgardencentre.co.uk/wilstead.html

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/

Want to try a new hobby? Destination Aquatics could have the answer

This is my first blog into the world of independent pet stores in Bedfordshire. I chose Destination Aquatics in Bedford for my first review because of the reviews online and their great Facebook page with video content. My two son’s also want to visit an aquarium so one wet Saturday we went to take a look.

Destination Aquatics is a retail store devoted to fish and aquascaping . Its mission statement is to ‘ensure that anyone introduced to fish-keeping, reptile keeping or pet keeping has the knowledge to ensure the animal thrives’  It’s a store which ‘aims to inspire new people into the hobby’, it has a welcoming and exciting feel to the store when you first walk in. The displays in the large entrance area immediately gave you the impression that this is no ordinary store. The tanks displayed are high value items (some are well over £1000 to buy) , and the livestock you buy from here require special love and attention. As all animals should. This is why the staff will ask you a few general questions to ensure that the fish are going to be living in the correct conditions and naturally the store can refuse to sell fish to anyone they feel will not keep the fish in the correct conditions.

What’s on offer?

Planted tanks: I assumed this just meant adding a plant to the bottom of the tank, well I was wrong. A planted aquarium attempts to mimic a fishes natural environment and as a result of all your hard work, your fish will behave in a more natural manner. Creating a planted tank helps you to understand the chemistry within the water that allows the plants to grow and flourish if presented with the right environment. Like gardening, the soil or in this instance the ‘substrate’ you put your plants into will have a huge impact on how your plants get on in your new tank. So it’s important to really research what you are doing and ask the staff in store for help. There are hundreds of types of plants available in all sorts of colours and sizes. Check out this guide here. https://aquariuminfo.org/plantedguide.html

Goldfish Tanks and Tropical Tanks

As soon as you enter the livestock area you can see the huge wall of livestock on offer. My eldest son was amazed at how large the fish tanks were and he loved getting up front and personal with the goldfish especially. We were also very interested in the starter tanks suitable for children. They had a good selection to suit a variety of price ranges in stock and the staff were keen to offer guidance and advice.

Marine Tanks

I can see from looking around the store that to own a full blown marine tank takes investment, time and knowledge. The end results are awe inspiring however, and I was amazed at what you can produce in your home or office thanks to careful lighting, knowing a bit about water chemistry/PH levels, understanding water flow and of course getting advice on the right type of tank needed. All questions the staff at Destination Aquatics are willing to answer of course and they can show you in store just how amazing these coral reef tanks can look with the right advice.

Types of livestock available to buy

The selection is impressive from Marine, Invertebrates, Corals , Tropical, Coldwater, and Anubias plants. To really see what’s on offer you really have to go and take a look in their store regularly but their Facebook page keeps you updated with all their latest and most beautiful fish.

Beautiful Coral and Invertebrates

For me the most impressive part about this store was the coral and invertebrates tanks in the centre of the store. As a novice fish keeper and owner of only goldfish and the usual tropical fish, I had never seen this type of livestock before and honestly didn’t know it was something you could buy from a store.  It was so beautiful to look at and I wish I had more space in my home to accommodate such beautiful creatures. I hope my photos do them justice, please go and see for yourself just how beautiful they are.

In the summer months they also have a large selection pond fish too such as Koi and Goldfish. A firm favourite for my Mum and Dad who have kept Koi’s for several years.

Dry Goods

Of course you need to have a wide selection of foods and items to put inside your tank/aquarium. Again looking down the store the selection was impressive. The colours of all the products looked amazing and my 2 boys loved looking at all the wonderful accessories such as the skulls and wood for the fish to hide and swim through.

Overall thoughts

The terminology and vast array of items on offer made my shopping experience a little overwhelming, however this was my first visit to the store and with some careful research online I would definitely go back armed with more knowledge and experience to then handle the amount of information on offer. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and you can always get them to guide you round the store when you are at the stage to buy.  I would definitely also look into the training sessions the store offers to its customers. These include evening events for Reef and Marine Keepers and training sessions on entry level fish keeping. They also at the time of writing this blog offer a tank maintenance service which is about ongoing support and even a tank set up service.

For further information please go to their website http://destinationaquatics.co.uk/ or Facebook page where they keep you up to date with all their latest videos https://www.facebook.com/Destinationaquatics/

They have their own dedicated car park and the store is easy to get to. It’s not in the centre of Bedford but on an industrial estate outside of the town. The address is below.

Destination Aquatics

Telford Way

Cambridge Road

Bedford

MK42 0PQ

01234 242486

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here. http://mybedfordshire.com/about/