Online Shopping, Not Always the Way Forward?

I am sitting here writing this blog post with a cushion wedged behind my aching back. We’ve been gardening all day, for hours. Well OK, we had a little break. After what felt like days of digging, moving plants, levelling ground, we thought of an excuse to go to a garden centre, we definitely needed stuff. Honestly, the prospect of coffee and cake played a part in the decision making process.

Searching for something specific

To make it feel more of a trip out, and to provide more respite from the digging, we chose a garden centre further away from home. I had an ulterior motive, I have been searching for a specific plant and the garden centres near to home had failed to come up with the goods. Years ago my mother handed me a slip of paper with a plant name on it, she too, has been searching for the plant for years. Eragnostis trichodes (Sand Lovegrass), it transpires, is somewhat elusive. Today’s was the fourth garden centre in a month to say they had never heard of it.

Eragnostis trichodes Online or small business support My Words Work For You

The quest for Eragnostis, my mother is worth it! Image credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden

Life is short, I am busy. So, I have options:

  1. Disappoint my mother (not an option, I just wanted to have three points)
  2. Spend more of my time in garden centres
  3. Search online

Let’s cut to the chase here, I am not considering option 1, and option 2 isn’t particularly attractive, notwithstanding the prospect of coffee and cake, so that leaves option 3, online shopping. Is that bad?

Online Shopping

I have spent years supporting small businesses, championing their USPs while lamenting how the rise of online shopping has adversely affected so many small businesses. It is true, online shopping has had a huge impact, many small businesses have been washed away in the tidal wave. However, a few have ridden the crest, enjoying the view, and the visibility, ‘good job’! It’s a full time task, small business owners can’t afford to take their eye off the ball or they can find themselves up a well known creek without a paddle. The success one business I worked with enjoyed was largely attributable to the fact I was ‘on it’ from morning until night, I constantly tweaked and added to the online offering.

Online or Bricks and Clicks?

For me, for this particular quest, I am going to resort to online shopping. It isn’t ideal when shopping for botanical specimens, I want it to be in good shape when it arrives. Of course, I would prefer to support my local garden centre, a family run business with knowledgeable, friendly staff and I have watched them being dwarfed by industry giants over the years, but the fact is, they don’t stock Eragnostis trichodes. I will always strive to support small businesses, professionally and personally, but this time, online was the only real solution.


I researched online to locate the plant, and it transpired one of the few listed stockists in the UK was Beth Chatto’s Garden in Essex. I happened to be going there the following Saturday with a group of friends. The plant is now in my mother’s garden. Hurrah!

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