Garden centres are my happy place. There is something joyous about strolling through the aisles of seasonal bedding plants and topiary. A sense of inner peace descends and all the soul-sapping white noise of life ebbs away.

I love perusing the twirling racks of colourful seed packets or browsing meticulously curated tables filled with swanky, upmarket homewares, such as kitsch-patterned tea towels, decorative serving platters and heavenly scented candles.

It is especially magical at this time of year when all the festive displays are in full effect. The fancy wreaths and garlands, light-up snowmen, oversized Nutcracker figures and Christmas trees festooned with sparkling baubles make me giddy with a child-like delight.

The best bit, though? Duh. It is the coffee shop. Give me homemade soup with a thick doorstep of butter-slathered rustic bread, freshly baked scones, gargantuan slabs of cake and artisan coffee over the try-hard cuisine served in Michelin-star eateries any day.

Nor does it seem I am alone in that thinking. Last Saturday I decided to go for a belated birthday brunch at one of my favourite Clyde Valley garden centres in Lanarkshire. It is always a popular spot, but I was taken aback to see a long queue snaking out the door of the cafe.

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I dutifully joined the growing line alongside my mother, my husband and my border collie Moose. A stomach-rumbling 40-minute wait later and we were finally inside.

There was only one problem: the famed scones - both the fruit and plain variety - had already sold out. It was barely 1pm. Talk about absolute scenes.

Every time the staff had to impart this information to newly arrived customers, the gasps of shock and howls of disappointment could be heard echoing around the world.

Even so, we had an amazing brunch. The queue was even longer as we left, stretching right around the building and into the nearby car park.

I felt like I was exiting an exclusive New York City hot spot. I kept expecting to see the flash of paparazzi cameras or to hear excited screams as Taylor Swift rolled up in a limo.

And that’s when the penny dropped. This was not your usual garden centre crowd. Sure, there were a handful of middle-aged Gen X bods (me included) and a smattering from the Baby Boomer demographic (my mother, for example), but the lion’s share of folk in the queue were younger.

Much younger, in fact. We’re talking about people in their twenties and early thirties. Millennials and Gen Z. It begged the question: When did garden centres become the new nightclubs?

Afterwards I did a bit of digging (that was an accidental pun but I’m keeping it in) and discovered that a popular social media influencer from Glasgow had recently posted a video on TikTok about visiting this particular garden centre.

She chatted excitedly about her yummy breakfast and shopping for Christmas decorations with her boyfriend. The clip has since amassed the best part of 200,000 views.

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Down the rabbit hole I tumbled. I found a clutch of posts by other users on a similar theme, garnering some 70,000 views between them. In fact, there were a fair few offerings about visiting garden centres in general. The word I saw used time and again was “wholesome”.

I am rather taken by this notion. Because, when I was in my twenties and early thirties, the most “wholesome” that weekends got was going to a slightly-less dodgy pub, one that didn’t have sticky floors or vomit-flecked walls in the toilets.

I found myself in envy/awe of the generations coming up behind me. They have skipped right past the existential dread years of waking up with The Fear - aka that next-day, foggy-headed feeling of angst - and have instead gone straight to the best bit: the garden centre era.

That is to be applauded, I reckon. Also, as a fellow garden centre fan, I feel smugly hip. Win-win.