|Savoy cabbage (Chou Milan) from a Graineterie seedling|
Then not long ago a sign went up indicating that the shop was closed for refurbishment.
Alas, now the graineterie windows are whitewashed, with a sign announcing "fermeture définitive" (closed for good and all). According to the rumour mill, there has been a family bust-up, someone has done something unforgiveable which they now regret bitterly. Everyone hopes it may reopen under new management, but meanwhile it's yet another empty shop.
The sad fact is that the big garden centre chains, such as Jardiland in France and Notcutts in the UK, are killing off their rivals with a larger range of products (tho less quirky) and longer opening hours. These stores are in both countries at the forefront of the Sunday Opening movement, now almost the norm in the UK and increasing in pressure in France.
One of the highlights of my journey to and from Primary School four times a day was passing The Corn & Seed Stores, at the Yew Tree, Yardley, Birmingham. The array of brightly coloured flowers almost always on display played no small part in my love of gardening. That store is mentioned by name in Kelly's Directory of 1950 and must go back to days when "this was all fields" i.e. before the 1930s when the estates of semi-detached houses were built. No sign of cornfields nowadays for miles in any direction.
|The former Corn & Seed Stores|
It became the Pets & Garden Centre while my Dad was still living in Yardley and was still flourishing in July 2012 according to Google Earth. I idly googled it and found that it too had gone under, sold by auction at Aston Villa Football Ground with vacant possession on 23 October 2012. It feels like I've lost another old friend.