Alexander the Great Visiting Bromborough Pool Garden Centre

By Alex Baldwin

 Here I am again, reporting for Autism Together on another exploring mission and this time I was sent to the Garden Centre in Bromborough Pool Village. The sun was shining and the sky 100% blue, what better day could there be to find some gorgeous flowers on display. I have visited this site before, but never really had the time to explore everywhere and really embrace the place and I was very keen to get stuck in.

My first impressions were great, there are useful leaflets on display and posters for upcoming community events. Inside the café/shop area there is more than enough room to hover around and watch the video on display of the projects and events that have happened in the past. I decided to head straight outdoors to explore the plants first, making sure I will come back to the café as the cakes in the corner caught my eye!

Stepping outside I was towered by a huge green plant, it is not often that I meet people or things much taller than myself! There are plenty of greenhouses all with signs to display that we can go in and have a look around and the area is set up well so I never got lost. I felt like I was in a sub-tropical climate and at times it made me feel like I was deep in the jungle surrounded by plants and flowers, especially with all the hanging baskets. I was expecting to be in an over grown jungle environment with plants growing straight out of the ground and everywhere flooded with water, but this was not the case as all the areas were spotlessly clean and tidy.

I had checked the weather forecast for the day and it said there were going to be showers, but it turned out to be wrong and was a surprisingly sunny and bright blue day. Anne guided the health walk – these take place on a weekly basis and are open for everyone to join. We experienced so much in the short space of time; we could see the calm grey waters rippling towards the stunning scenery of Liverpool Cathedral and the Radio City Tower.

The staff were very friendly and helpful, even pointing out and explaining how the water sprinklers work and telling me exactly what temperatures each green house was. What I really love (as I have Asperger’s myself) is the fact that there were lots of staff about that also have autism, which proves the Garden Centre is an autism friendly site and the staff are very supportive.

After a nice walk around looking at all the plants (even some strange looking black ones!), I went into the Garden Centre Café to try out the cakes; I chose a custard slice and a fizzy pop which I got on a great any cake and drink deal. The cake was HUGE, definitely well-deserved for all my reporting skills.

After this I met with the Service Manager of the Garden Centre, Lex Freeman, I had prepared some gruelling questions I wanted to put to him;

When did this Garden Centre open?

Originally around 40 years ago, it looked nothing like it does now though and I think it was all run from a small garden shed on the site. However, around 6 years ago we secured some Lottery Funding to build the site as it stands now with is shop and café included.

Are you ever bothered by bees, wasps and other bugs?

I love bees, without them we wouldn’t have the plant life we do now, however I am not at all keen on wasps and we recently had to get rid of a wasp nest at the Garden Centre. Another little pest we come across surprisingly are butterflies, we have to keep green nets over the cabbages so they can’t eat them.

What’s happens with all the money that you make here?

It goes straight back into Autism Together, as it is a not for profit organisation and the money goes back into services for people with autism.

With all the plant watering, is your water bill expensive?

Excellent question, it can be in the summer as it takes 1 member of staff 3 hours in the morning and again in the evening to water everything on site. Obviously in the winter months we don’t water as much.

What are the future plans for the Garden Centre?

Coming this summer, we will have our very own children’s area where we plan to put down some artificial grass so it can be used all year round, a little Wendy house and some wooden toys. We will also be building a bike shed out by the front entrance of the Garden Centre, as we will soon be included on the Wirral Circular Trails in August and need somewhere for the visitors to park their bikes securely.

So there you have it guys, another venue conquered and I hope you find my report useful when considering your visit to the Garden Centre. It is a great place for everyone, supportive and more importantly autism friendly. With staff that have great knowledge of plants, a venue that is both relaxing and vibrant with colour in the summer months and there’s even a water feature for those like me that can’t resist a small splash!

Oh and before I forget…. The Garden Centre also have a loyalty card scheme now, if you buy 5 hot drinks then you get your next one for free!

If you are wondering who wrote this, then my name is Alexander ‘the Great’ Baldwin and I can’t wait to see where I get sent to next.

What I really love (as I have Asperger’s myself) is the fact that there were lots of staff about that also have autism, which proves the Garden Centre is an autism friendly site and the staff are very supportive.