Come into the garden centre, Maud

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
The first rays of summer sun always bring queues of London's un-green fingered urban dwellers to garden centres, desperately trying to redecorate neglected garden plots. But plants are not the only way to disguise or improve a garden ravaged by the winter months. Corinthian columns, statues, fountains, benches, swings or love seats all make for garden glamour - and no watering.

Avant Garden, 77 Ledbury Rd W11 (071-229 4408) Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm / Sat 10am-4pm

This shop has a stylish collection of new ideas made with natural materials for training, growing and presenting plants. Hand-made wire topiary shapes, such as chickens and squirrels, start at pounds 25, Corinthian columns are pounds 290. Also on sale is a large selection of garden furniture forged in iron, English terracotta pots, hand-blown glass vases, willow flower baskets and trugs. Forged iron plant stands and willow tripods for training flowers are sound ideas for patios and small balconies. 'We sell unusual ways of making plants look good,' says owner Joan Clifton.

Webb's Garden Centre, Hangar Lane, Ealing W5 (081 997 3424) Mon-Sun 8am-6pm

Webb's is a large garden centre selling the usual selection of flowers and plants. However, they also have small concrete garden statues and fountains. Statues include a three foot high Pandora (pounds 22.50), a sitting figure and a kneeling figure. Fountains (about two foot high) are about the same price and include a Fish Boy, a small boy holding a fish spouting water, a Rock Boy (the same boy on a rock) and a Brussels Boy, a small boy peeing (holding his brussels - how charming).

Also on sale are a variety of concrete pots and troughs. Plastic pots range from 10p to pounds 17. Terracotta pots range from 40p to pounds 30.

The Pot Shop, 25 High St, Pinner, Middx HA5 (081-429 0818) Mon-Fri 10am-6pm

Established 12 years ago, The Pot Shop sells one of the widest selection of garden pots in London. The usual traditional terracotta favourites are on sale as well as hand-painted pots, ceramic pots and huge glazed pots from Provence. Prices range from pounds 2.60 to pounds 375.

Mrs Lycett, the owner, also purveys a wide and unusual range of garden accessories, including wall sconces (pounds 45), decorative garden mirrors (starting at pounds 125) and artificial palms and firs. 'I sell things that are fun and different,' she says.

Lloyd Christie Garden Architecture, 1 New King's Rd SW6 (071-731 3484) Mon-Fri 10.30am-6pm/Sat 10.30-1pm Or by appointment.

'We are the BMW of garden accessories,' Pat Barnett, the owner, bluntly says. This shop specialises in all kinds of trellis work for gardens and roof terraces as well as conservatories. Pergolas, or arches for growing flowers over, start at pounds 360, rose arches start at pounds 170. Also on sale are arbours, or small love seats covered by trellis work, starting at pounds 780. Conservatories are all hand crafted in hardwood and glass, and made to order. The shop also sell a variety of antique garden replicas such as urns, pots, fountains and masks (pounds 70).

Fulham Palace Garden Centre, corner Bishops Avenue and Fulham Palace Road SW6 (071-736 2640) Sun 10am-5pm / Mon-Thurs 9.30am 5.30pm / Fri-Sat 9.30am-6pm

This garden centre boasts a superb selection of mature roses and herbacious plants as well as garden furniture and accessories.

Lead and brass sundials for the garden (starting at pounds 30-pounds 40) come with leaflets on how to set them up. Also on sale are cast iron chairs and benches, teak and French furniture, willow trellising, 'illusion' trellises and topiary frames.

For sleepy summer afternoons nip in and buy one of their canvas hammocks (pounds 39.95) or a croquet set (pounds 2.20).

(Photograph omitted)