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Springmount Garden Centre

I just love the very nice culture that exists at Springmount Garden Centre, Ballycanew Road, Gorey. You get that lovely feeling that you are a valued customer the minute you enter. I am always addressed by my first name and after a browse around invariably a member of staff will ask you if they can help you. This is so nice to see in this modern world of ours where everyone seems to be in a hurry.

This mannerly, polite, courteous culture is courtesy of team leader Elaine whose presence there sets the tone for Springmount. Elaine is always in good humour and all staff are imbued with an infectious pride in their workplace.

This is particularly evident when you ask any of the team a question about a tree or shrub. You are the sole focus of their attention until your query is answered. They maintain very high standards in customer relations.

This is ingrained in Elaine because her mother Ella, who started the business in 1975, had very good customer relations. She opened Springmount in the green grass area in front of the present building because of her love of flowers. She also sold jewellery and bric a brac from an old, renovated shack which her husband had brought down from Aughrim. She had her own personal way with her customers because she knew them all. She was successful and the business grew from there. Ella was an outdoors person and liked nothing better than an excuse to be out and about and talking to people. She belonged to that generation of hard workers who could never sit idle. They were people who worked hard for long hours but still managed time to stop and genuinely chat and listen to each other.

When her mother died in 1999 Elaine came home from London, where she had been for fifteen years and started running the business.

Springmount has expanded greatly since those pioneering days. Elaine had exhibitions, foody events, talks, lectures, bee keeping, art classes and children’s events over the years but now the business is on a more defined track concentrating on the shop, garden centre and restaurant.

The present-day garden centre is well planned. The entrance area leads you through the display of garden implements and they have a great array of spades, shovels, and garden forks as well as trowels, rakes, lawn aerators, long handled corkscrew weeders, edging irons, telescopic fruit pickers, oscillating hoes, and three pronged cultivators.

In addition, there were long, short, and extendable shears. I just could not believe that such a range of garden implements existed. They were all displayed at eye level, were easily handled and prices, not bar codes, were clearly visible.

Outside there is an extensive display of flowers in season. There were primroses, violas, pansies, wallflowers, tulips, daffodils, muscari, sedum, and the ever-popular crocus. That is only a tiny selection of what they stock just to whet your appetite.

When you visit make sure you see their herb garden section for your parsley, fennel, rosemary, and thyme as well as the strawberries, raspberries, and other fruits bushes.

I love browsing in Springmount because of the range of goods they keep in stock. I was particularly intrigued when I saw the equivalent of the hot water bottles for plants with plant warming fleece covers, electric windowsill propagators and fleece grow tunnels. I loved them and thought of little seedlings snuggled up warm in their flowery beds.

Around the corner was pet’s paradise with canine and feline cards, rugs, canine toys, cat and doggie beds, cat igloos, scratching posts and treats. There was a special doggie food section displaying bars from Harry’s Bakery with Honey and oat crunch, apple crumble and peanut butter bars while for your vegetarian inclined doggie they had carrot and rice crunchies. So next time you are out and about with your canine friend make sure you bring a doggie bar for your pet and another for yourself of course.

Emma showed me all the outside weatherproof garden tables, parasols, chairs and barbecues and garden heaters which they stock upstairs. There were also outdoor lights and garden ornaments. This was a well-stocked area with a great variety of materials available for garden adornment.

When you visit Springmount you are more aware of the importance of outdoor spaces for cooking and relaxing at home. You can find whatever you need to enhance these areas in Springmount because they are so up to date with their ever-changing stock range in their garden décor section.

We now move downstairs to the decorative glazed balls, stone ware and more solar powered garden lights including a dinky metal scroll light hen which I thought was so cute.

I absolutely adored their garden and home decor section which stocked some lovely pieces with sheep, deer, foxes, rabbits, hens, and lots more. They are worth a visit.

This is all before I go down to see what is available for my birdie friends. I was looking for a peanut feeder for my little blue tits and I was immediately provided with a choice of three. They have a fantastic section there with wall mounted and hanging feeders for fat balls, peanuts, and seeds to suit all birdie tastes. You can buy feeders that are squirrel safe. They have very decorative nesting boxes for blue tits and some general bird nesting boxes.

In front of the shop, just before the pay area, there is one of the most fantastic displays of cactus and indoor plants you will encounter in these parts. They were assembled by their own staff member Grace. The range available is a credit to her. It is a joy to stand back and observe them. Better still you can buy one to start your own collection.

Next door there is a clothing and footwear section and a preserves, books, and stationery department including a very nice children’s section.

I was very impressed by their range of garden pots, urns and bases made from plastic, fibre clay and ceramics varying in size from the very small to larger ones capable of holding a good-sized acer or shrub and available for sale in glazed and unglazed versions.

There is so much to see in stone types, meshes, trellis, cottage style garden sheds and lots more of that type of garden paraphernalia on display in their yard and storage areas.

I walked across to see the Magnolias which are favourites of mine. I loved the names of two of them that I looked at. One was called Big Dude while its companion was called Star Wars.

They have a huge array of roses with such lovely names such as Warm Welcome, Love Knot, Upwards and Onwards, and Star Performer, to name but a few. The lovely climbing roses have even nicer names like Tranquillity, Gentle Hermione, and Thomas A Becket. I think there must be a rose for every occasion like silver jubilees or special anniversary roses.

When you walk out to the open-air area of Springmount it is so relaxing. You are confronted with clearly visible signage leading you to fruit trees, ground cover, plants for pots, formal plants, winter colour, shade, seaside plants and plants for heavy soil.

A lot of people nowadays will come armed with I phone in hand. They will have researched plants and shrubs online and will have a fairly good idea of what they are looking for to suit their indoor or outdoor spaces. I fondly remember waiting for Mr Middleton’s catalogue to come in the post and then studying it to see what was available for the year.

Springmount is home to a lovely red painted gazebo or arbour, where you can bring out your coffee, sit down and observe the shrubs and trees while you are soothed by bovine moos in the adjoining field. A packet of milky moos would be nice please.

I took notice of a wall mounted health reminder from An Bord Bia about the benefits of gardening and advocating that people should visit garden centres. Some of the benefits listed here were that it relieves stress, has mental health benefits, boosts productivity, and reduces the risk of dementia. Other benefits are that it improves sleep, increases creativity, and reduces blood pressure. This is a nice health awareness sign in a garden centre. I know that lovely calm relaxing feeling I get when I am out in the peace and quiet of my own garden. It is such a nice peaceful tranquil place, and all my flowers are so docile.

Finally, there is the idyllic Greenhouse Café which opened in 2013. They serve Wexford and Greenhouse breakfasts, which are very popular. Also, high up on the ratings are their sumptuous Springmount toasted special sandwiches and wraps. They also provide daily specials, soup, and hot lunches. Some people just like to go there for coffee and a chat. I love their seats on the perimeter of the garden centre. They are like little mini external snugs offering perfect privacy for a chat. It is a lovely friendly place to rendezvous or as a destination venue.

I am reminded of a quote by Alfred Austin who was appointed British Poet Laureate in 1850

‘Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are”

I say,show me the garden centre and I shall tell you what you are.

For Elaine it is a work of love continuing the tradition started by her mother 48 years ago.

Springmount is much more than a garden centre. It is a treasure trove, an institution and very much a vital part of life in Gorey and its North Wexford environs since 1975.

Go raibh fada buan sibh uilig.

Michael O Callaghan July 2023



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