Things in Unusual Places # 5: Chickens

The garden centre with the flowery loos also has chickens roaming the plant sales area. I got quite a shock when one of them suddenly appeared from underneath one of the plant stands. They're allowed to strut about and scratch through the display beds and bark mulched areas during the day, then retire at night to rather superior hen house accommodation. They're for sale too - the garden centre notice says: Grow your own eggs fresh from the garden.

NAH and I were quite taken with them as were my niece and nephew last week when we took them along to discover the delights of this garden centre. They were most reluctant to go at first, but the chickens and the flowery loos soon won them over. They also loved the carnivorous and sensitive plant display indoors.

We also made another discovery, but I'm saving that for another time :)


  1. What a cool idea :) Sadly a little too far for me and Pete to pop down there to see what's what :(

  2. What a lovely idea. You are lucky to have such an innovative garden centre :-)

  3. greetings Chippenham and thanks for garden centre post!

  4. that garden centre is certainly a one-stop-fits-all!

  5. LOL, I think chickens are quite at home at a garden center. Do you get to keep any eggs you find?! :) It's like Easter all year round!

  6. I've seen cats and dogs roam about freely at a garden center, but never chickens! I wonder if they lay eggs in any of the plants:)

    Catching up today and noticed your post about bee-attracting plants. The coneflowers top my list, but two more I'd add from my garden are nepeta and cosmos. Actually, my gardens are so full of bees this year that I'm not sure there's a flower they don't like!

  7. It can be amusing wandering among chickens while wearing open-toed sandals. They think your toes are succulent worms, and peck at them hopefully.

    On bees - visiting Ball Colegrave's demonstration grounds on Friday, several of us noticed that butterflies and bees were going ape over the zinnias.

  8. Chickens, yes!!! How fantastic. I wish you'd brought home two or three for yourselves. Nothing like chickens to make a garden truly home! And, of course, a flowery loo or two strategically positioned around the place...

  9. I was so sure they were going to go home with you! gail

  10. I'm sorely tempted to have chickens, but knowing there's a family of foxes at the top of the garden is putting me off a bit! - I did think you were going to say you'd bought a couple though :)

  11. I love chickens and wouldn't be without ours. For one thing they are funny and when you add the eggs, how could you not like them?

  12. Sounds a most eggcellent garden centre and what a perfect environment for the chickens. We have a few folk keeping hens at the allotment and I find their clucking most soothing as I am working.

  13. On every blog I visit today I find garden centres and nurseries near Bristol which I need to visit - I hope R wasn't expecting a holiday or anything while we're in that area ;)

  14. Fluffymuppet - that's a shame, I think you'd enjoy it there

    EG - the satff are really good too. When I said to my nephew, see it's not such a bad garden centre after all is it?, a passing member of staff saw my nephew nod his head and she said I'm so glad you said that

    Emma - glad you enjoyed it - will you be making the trek there from Bath I wonder?

    Petoskystone - I just wish it was a little closer to us, then it would be perfect

    Monica - that's a good question, we didn't find any. I wonder if the staff's consumption of eggs has increased?

    Rose - good suggestions re bee plants. I don't have either in my garden this year. I can't grow nepeta at all because the cats just roll all over it.

    Nige - hurrah a visit and comment from you :) And thanks so much for following, it's like having gardening royalty visiting! I'm wondering if your hens tickle your feet whilst pecking your toes?

    OFB - if only we could have some chickens. NAH seems quite struck with the idea too. However, I suspect our 2 cats would take one look and thank us enthusiastically for bringing them some lunch!

    Debbi - our niece and nephew loved them too. They chased them all round the garden centre trying to stroke them

    Gail - I wish it were so!

    Nutty Gnome - I've liked the thought of keeping chickens ever since a colleague said he used to pick up one of his bantams and take it around the garden with him!

    Elizabethm - they were funny around the garden centre too. Everyone was going around the plant sales with huge smiles on their faces.

    Anna - sadly we're not allowed to keep animals at the allotment. I'm wondering if I might get away with a hive of bees though?

    Juliet - ooooooooh, you'll be near me as well! I was going to suggest a trip to Hanham Court as well, but I suspect it might be too perfumed for you?

  15. Chickens are such fun. I have to say that our cats ignore them completely. Even when we had chicks the cats left them alone. But then a Mother Hen is a truly fearsome creature, you should see the size one small hen can become if she thinks you are even thinking about looking at her babies.

    I can confirm that bees love cosmos, zinnias and also dahlias and ...

  16. Maggi - I think our cats might think differently. There was an escaped buzzard in our garden once and Jess was eying it up speculatively as a spot of lunch!


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