Sherleek Holmes and the Garden Savings

This is the first instalment of an occasional series in which I’ll delve into the mysteries of the companies that trade under several linked names and/or how the choice of where you shop could hit your pocket and where, by making a wise choice, you could save money.

Today I’m going to look at:

  • Garden Bargains ( aka Ideal World Gardening
  • You Garden
  • Blooming Direct
  • Shopping @ Home Ltd

Shopping @ Home Ltd is the parent of You Garden. It is also the web provider for Garden Bargains. Peter McDermott is listed as Head Gardener at both You Garden and Garden Bargains (feel free to delve into the directorships lists at Companies House if you want). He’s a director of Shopping @ Home Ltd. Blooming Direct is a trading name of You Garden. So essentially there’s a lot of one and the same here. I mean, look at this pic of the Garden Bargains catalogue:

Ideal Gardening/Garden Bargains catalogue sample
Ideal Gardening/Garden Bargains catalogue sample

Now look at the You Garden catalogue. Only a mug shot different.

Spot the difference!
Spot the difference!

So how does all this affect your pocket. Well, if you buy from a TV shopping channel like Ideal World or QVC, you’ll pay a per-item P&P charge. If you order more than one of one item, then each channel has it’s own way of reducing the P&P cost. But if you order two different items, you’ll usually pay two full P&P charges. Watch out for occasional “free P&P” and other product offers though.

Blooming Direct doesn’t seem to offer a catalogue though if you subscribe to email alerts, theirs will come from “Richard” whereas “Peter” is the communicator at You Garden. Otherwise the emails are more or less identical.

Now You Garden offer a “membership” thing which the others don’t. If you fork out a tenner, you’ll get more than a tenner’s worth of up-front benefits, a few marketing things and 10% off every purchase for the next year. You’ll be quids in if you only order a tenner’s worth of stuff in your membership year. And there are other benefits too.

So I started on Ideal World’s web site and built up a little order (info correct as at 3o April 2016). To get the Ideal World price I built up, then aborted, an online order. I then did the same with the other sellers.

The order was:

  1. 10 Fragrant stargazer lily bulbs
  2. Pair of standard oleanders
  3. Surfinia petunia trailing plug plants – pack of 24

Then comparing the options:

  • From Ideal World that order will cost you £78.94
  • Don’t order from Ideal World but order from Garden Bargains direct and the order will cost you £70.95
  • From Blooming Direct that order will cost you £77.94 (there is no DIRECT product comparison – the price is for the best match)
  • From You Garden, with a membership, that order will cost you £74.44

And chances are the plants are coming from the same nursery. Even on a small order, you could save £8 if you ordered from the right place.

Incidentally, I ordered some surfinia plug plants from You Garden and from another seller. The plants from You Garden were, simply, great. Those from the other supplier were little more than advanced seedlings. Guess which was the cheaper! And guess from whom I ordered some more.