Romanov Turns A-Listed Treasure Into Garden Centre

HEARTS chairman Vladimir Romanov is to transform the old Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh into the city's first A-listed discount garden centre.

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Romanov, the Lithuanian tycoon who bought Hearts FC by mistake in 2005, will fill the 19th Century architectural treasure in St Andrew's Square with peat-free compost, gravel and bedding plants, all guaranteed to be at least 10% cheaper than Dobbies and Homebase.

"Garden centres are my first love," said Romanov. "Football is a game for women and children but gardening is the stuff of heroes. In my culture working with compost and trowels is the definition of masculinity.

"I will show these so-called Scottish men how they can impress their women. Buy gravel, grow pansies, share your compost with the local beggar. The poets will immortalise you!"

The St Andrew's Square purchase is the first step in Mr Romanov's expansion programme.

Later this year he plans to transform the east wing of the Royal Museum of Scotland into a timber and plumbing merchants while the knave of St Giles' Cathedral has been earmarked as the capital's first specialist turf warehouse.