After years of working in garden centres across the country, it was perhaps inevitable that Patricia Wordsworth would one day have her own green-fingered business. Then, when husband Paul was made redundant, it became the unlikely opportunity to transform years of gardening expertise into a dream business.
Corbridge Garden Room, located in picturesque Corbridge village, stocks everyday garden wares alongside unusual gifts. The shop, which opened 18 months ago, is flourishing and it’s easy to see why – it has something for everyone, with supplies for the traditionalist, and items focused on new trends for the more contemporary.
Patricia set out to create a shop where people could not just buy products for their garden, but also for a garden room or conservatory too, something she believes are so much more popular now, and it’s been a huge hit with gardeners and interior designers from far and wide. Patricia believes that her success is partly down to the fact that she tries to inspire others through her shop. ‘Some people don’t feel they are creative enough to think through their own ideas for a room, so will see a display and buy the whole thing. Visitors often choose their flowers and then decide to buy the vase too. I like showing people what they can do and how simple it can be to achieve. One of my other passions is renovating houses, so the two fall hand-in-hand.’
Patricia stocks both local and well-known branded products. ‘I generally try to carry three local things at least at a time, like the bunting which was made by a local lady, but we also have big brands such as Burgon & Ball and Culinary Concepts.’ Patricia comments that she thinks the small-scale gardener is going to be a big focus this summer, with many TV shows scheduled to encourage people to get in the garden, no matter the size. She is taking advantage of this by deliberately tapping into products like the Urban Gardener, a selection of basic seeds ranges, including a children’s range.
With her husband having found new work in surveying, as well as running the accounts for the shop, things are now more stable for this hard-working family. In their free time they love to visit Alnwick Garden and have recently started tackling their own garden. ‘The previous owner had the garden completely covered over with red gravel. This means that the soil no longer has any nutrients in it so we have just started the preparation work,’ explains Patricia who, perhaps unsurprisingly, is very clear on what she wants. ‘I’m going to have raised beds at the back and I’ll have my cottage garden at the front. I’ll always have lavender so I think I might do a lavender and rosemary pathway up to the door.’
Meanwhile Patricia is continuing to make sure her shop is equally beautiful. ‘People come in and really make your day. One lady came in recently and said, “This is what I call an ooh-ah shop. There’s so much in here, I’m going round saying ooh-ah to everything!”’
Corbridge Garden Room, 18A Market Place, Corbridge, Northumberland, NE45 5AW