In New Delhi’s unpretentious (actually, make that pretty scruffy and down-at-heel) Yashwant Place shopping centre, ignore all the pushy salesmen trying to sell Kashmiri products to Russian tourists, and look out for Argosy, a calm, quietly efficient little shop selling most of the basic garden supplies one needs.
Pots, wire baskets, seed trays, packets of seeds and a few cuttings – that kind of thing. The staff is polite and the absolute opposite of pushy. They leave you to potter and decide on your own without any sales pitch.
You won’t find a huge variety of plants for sale in Argosy – for that you need to go to a nursery – but otherwise, all essential gardening supplies are available. And they have a huge variety of packets of seeds.
A nice, reassuringly old-fashioned shop.
I went back on a follow-up visit to Argosy yesterday.
If it’s possible, Yashwant Place is looking even more down-at-heel than on my last visit.
I followed a group of overweight Russians being literally herded into the market by an officious Indian driver in a safari suit – by the way, how divinely retro is that ? He imperiously waved his arms in a shepherding gesture, the way school teachers do to primary school children, and once inside the aggressive Kashmiri salesmen took over with a vengeance.
However, I discovered that I don’t look like a Russian, clearly, since I was left alone to go and buy my hanging baskets from Argosy.
The shopkeeper was on the phone ordering bulbs when I arrived, but with a smile and a totally welcoming arm gesture, not at all safari-suit-esque, he indicated I should potter till he was finished.
Polite, efficient, reasonably priced, as ever.