EARLSWOOD is renowned for its picturesque lakes and popular countryside pubs, but it also boasts Earlswood Nurseries in Forshaw Heath Road near to the village’s train station.
A Silhillian born and bred, I’ve visited the lakes and pubs in Earlswood on numerous occasions, but I was surprised as an avid gardener to discover that there was also a garden centre in its midst.
It has an extensive range of giftware and specialised gardening and outdoor produce from fencing, summer hanging baskets, bedding plants, trees, plants and shrubs to garden ornaments and pots all within an unspoilt shopping environment.
Massarella’s, a coffee shop chain first established in 1860 has an outlet within the garden centre. With its own al fresco dining terrace, this establishment offers a wide selection of light bites including jacket potatoes (£4.25), baguettes (£3.45) and cold sandwiches (from £3.25) and hot dishes including homemade food freshly cooked on the premises.
The menu varies daily, and for those wanting something a little different there is a specials board available.
New homemade products for the summer include tortilla wraps (£3,25), hot dog with onions, chips and fizzy drink (£4.75), quiches, pasta, rice salads, meat salads, sausage rolls and breakfast pasties. From the homemade menu (all £5.75) we opted for freshly battered cod and a traditional chicken dinner, but could have been persuaded to try the cottage pie, vegetarian lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, beef chilli, chicken balti/tikka, whole tail scampi, or pie of the day.
Our meals were promptly served to the table, and for afters I chose a generous slice of cherry bakewell blitz (£2.20) while my husband selected the apple pie (£2.20).
The restaurant offers a comprehensive list of takeaway food (with 20 per cent off). Special offers include senior citizens day on Thursday. Children eat free Monday - Friday when two meals are purchased. After 2.30pm afternoon tea with jam/clotted cream scone is just £2.25 and scampi, chips and peas (£3.99), toasted teacake and pot of tea (£1.99) and panini and hot drink (£3.95).
There is also an afternoon raffle for every paying customer to be entered to win one hot meal and drink (drawn every Monday). This was our first visit to the garden centre, but it most definitely will not be our last. For information call 01564 702314 (www.earlswoodnurseries.co.uk).