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Notcutts Ashton Park Garden Centre

 Garden Centre Reviews

Notcutts Ashton Park Garden Centre

Entrance to Notcutts at Ashton Park
Click the picture to enlarge it.

Notcutts Ashton Park Garden Centre was bought from the NWF Group in late 2008 as part of a �14.5 million deal. It's clearly a modern garden centre so we decided to review them.

This is a totally independent GardenAction opinion of the Notcutts Ashton Park Garden Centre in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester.


Before we write about the plants at Notcutts Ashton Park, a little recent history about the plants at Notcutts garden centres may be of interest. As far as we are aware, up until 2007 Notcutts produced many of their own plants at their nurseries in Woodbridge. This is explained in Notcutts own website. In 2007 however, Notcutts Nurseries were subject to a management buyout and are now owned by a different company, John Woods Nurseries.

Our understanding is therefore, that Notcutts no longer produce their own plants, buying them all from outside suppliers. None of this appears on Notcutts website. Indeed, the history section of the Notcutts website opens with the statement "NOTCUTTS have always retailed directly to the public". There is a "comments" section at the end of this page if you want to tell us more.

The outdoor plants area is reasonably well arranged with very wide paths in most areas. It's free from clutter in most places and is very suitable for wheelchair access.

The majority of paths are straight but the area is broken up by a number of islands. This makes it more appealing to wander around.

The range of plants on offer at Ashton Park is large and the need for good signs is essential. The overhead signs are clear and informative. The smaller signs (see left) are also helpful for locating specific plants easily.

The quality of the plants is in general about acceptable. Neither particularly good nor bad. But some specimens really should have been removed from sale. The conifer on the left (click to enlarge picture) is severely damaged and will never recover.

Almost every apple on the large range of apple trees was diseased in some form or other. We spent five minutes examining them and found no unblemished apples (see picture above right).

The advertised plant guarantee sign at the Ashton Park garden centre caught our eye. It claims there is a five year hardy plant guarantee. Unusual we thought because the standard Notcutts guarantee is two years. The Ashton Park page on the website confirmed that the guarantee is five years as well. So we phoned up Ashton Park garden centre and they definitely confirmed that the guarantee was only for two years so the sign is wrong.


The prices were about average for garden centres in this area, possibly even slightly below average as our typical shopping basket below illustrates. 

Rose, 3 litre pot �7.00 upwards

Common shrub (e.g. hebe) �5.99

Clematis named variety �9.00 upwards

Economy spade �9.99

Stainless steel fork �19.99

Runner Bean seeds not available at the time of visit

Multi-purpose compost 60l �4.99 or 3 for �12

Fish, blood and bone 2.5kg �4.99

Tomorite 1 litre �3.99

Miracle Gro 1 kg �3.49

Large cup of coffee �1.70

NOTE: Price comparisons are based on the prices we find at the time of our visit. We compare to them average prices in the same year as the date of the review.

When we arrived at Notcutts, Ashton Park we made an error in navigation and found ourselves at Mockridge Nurseries just behind the garden centre. Initially we ignored the apparently small nurseries and back to Notcutts, only a short walk or drive away. As we entered Notcutts driveway, to our surprise, we saw a sign on the right hand side advertising Mockridge Nurseries which says "Why Pay More!!!!!!!!".

We couldn't resist giving them a short review at the end of our visit to Notcutts and we were amazed at the quality, range and prices of the Mockridge Nurseries plants in comparison to those at Notcutts. One price comparison, admittedly the most staggering of all, relates to the Houttuynia plants on sale at both Notcutts and Mockridge. At Notcutts they were for sale at �9.00, but at the Mockridge Nurseries they were on sale at just �2.25, exactly a quarter of the price! And, on balance, the cheaper plants looked to be in better condition than the more expensive ones.

Go to our review of the Mockridge Nurseries for more details. Just to convince you that the price differential was not a one off, we noted that the cheapest clematis on offer at Notcutts was �9.00 whilst at Mockridge's they were only �4.50. The quality differential was even more marked as well. The cheaper clematis looked far more healthy than the more expensive Notcutts ones.

To get to Mockridge Nurseries from Notcutts Ashton Park, turn left out of Notcutts. Go about 200 yards to the traffic lights and turn left. Turn left at the next traffic lights (200 yards or so on) and go down the unmade road, bearing left a the T-junction. It will take you less than a minute in a car (traffic lights permitting) and you'll save pounds.