South Hams garden centre Gardentime is supporting hedgehogs in trouble at a coffee morning in their popular cafe.

Proceeds from tea, coffee and cake sales will be donated to Prickles in a Pickle, a Stoke Fleming-based charity dedicated to the rehabilitation and safe release of hedgehogs.

Gardentime owners Chris and Philly Varlow are also supporting the charity by selling Prickles in a Pickle calendars, which they’ve sponsored this year.

The special event is on Tuesday, November 14 from 9 am until midday in their Glasshouse Café.

Gardentime celebrated its 20th anniversary in September. Since its launch in 2003, the family-run business, based between Totnes and Dartmouth, has evolved from a modest garden shop to a flourishing garden centre, café and farm shop.

It’s the lifelong vision of Chris and Philly, who met while working for Philly's late father Chris Holden at his garden centre in Buckinghamshire. The couple had often spoken about relocating to the West Country to start their own business and jumped at the chance when the site came up for sale.

Chris, Philly and some of the Gardentime team (Gardentime)

Chris said: "We loved the site immediately - there are not too many garden centres with a sea view! Having managed larger garden centres for big companies, we both wanted to get back to our roots and concentrate on sourcing and showcasing the very best quality plants in beautiful surroundings."

Chris, who is from Penzance, honed his craft at Pershore College of Horticulture, and studied garden centre management. Before Gardentime, he was regional manager of garden centre group Country Gardens. 

Philly was born into a farming family and raised in East Portlemouth. She initially trained as a florist, working for London's leading hotels, and founded her first floristry business, Forget-Me-Not.

Philly said: "I’ve always been romantically attached to the South Hams and the sea, having spent my childhood here, so it felt like a homecoming when we found the site. My dad founded his family-run garden centre - he was one of the first and renowned in the industry, so in many ways I feel like we're keeping that history going in our own way.”

Philly hard at work in one of the greenhouses (Gardentime)

In 2016, the couple added a farm shop to Gardentime, with fresh foods sourced locally and from Italy. Alongside the shop is the Glasshouse Café.

Twenty years after their launch, the couple cite their success as a by-product of "doing what we love every day".

Christmas plans

Gardentime is selling Dartmoor Christmas trees from November 21. As well as providing trees for local hotels, restaurants, schools, and pubs, they provide trees for the annual Stoke Fleming Christmas Tree Festival.

They’ll also be selling lighting and decorations, gardening gifts, local produce and fresh bespoke hand-made wreaths.

And, for the first time, Gardentime is hitting the road with a stall at Totnes late-night shopping on Tuesdays throughout December.