PREPARATIONS are hotting up for the grand opening of a garden centre's newest development this weekend.

Laylocks Garden Centre in Cotheridge, near Worcester, is marking the opening of a new extension with live music, free goodies, and children's entertainment. 

It will unveil its biggest new development since opening in the early 1980s, after a sizeable investment of more than half a million pounds.

The expansion will lead to the centre having more than 650sqm of retail space, an expanded restaurant, a brand-new layout with an entrance, and a newly developed plant and landscape area.

The centre also promises a larger home and lifestyle department and a bigger Christmas department "to make the festive season as magical as possible".

The unveiling will also mark the centre's 40th anniversary and it hopes to make the opening a grand affair. 

The ribbon will be cut at 11am on Saturday (March 23) followed by a mini music festival featuring artists like Alex Lleo, Dan Greenaway, and Jasper Malone, stilt walkers, and free sampling of artisanal produce.

The opening may even feature a fairy or two flying around.

The first 100 visitors will receive a gardener's goodie bag, while the first 200 customers will take home complimentary pansy packs.

Prizes will be up for grabs in a raffle, with all proceeds going to West Midlands Air Ambulance, a charity dear to the Warr family, who run the centre.

Raffle entrants will have the chance to win a two-person outdoor furniture set, a large hamper of goodies and an olive tree.

Once the new site opens, staff numbers are expected to increase by five to ten percent. 

Planning permission for the centre was granted by Malvern Hills District Council in February 2022.

Planning officers said the garden centre played a key role in the local rural economy, which the expansion would boost.

The centre offers various plants, 60 per cent of which are cultivated on-site.