Harder than it looks

Alan and Brian took on the masterful task on making the new poly-tunnel. Definitely not as easy as it looks and involved lots of cursing and talking about angles, being square and was it plumb. After some professional advice from Patrick our multi skilled builder it started to take shape and I caught them looking […]

A great evening

Last night (Wednesday 28th May) we held a very successful event entitled ‘An evening with bees’ with members of Duhallow Bee-keepers Association. We had just over fifteen people who were party to both a talk and a practical demonstration covering all aspects of bee keeping as well as the importance of gardening for bees. Several […]

Banish those weeds

With the new work going on there is lots of fresh earth that will be quickly taken over by weeds so with our abundance of cardboard which usually goes off to be re-cycled we are using it as a mulch. We remove sticky labels, tape and staples from the cardboard before we use it though […]

For those with a sweet tooth

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to have a slice of cake (especially the chocolate and carrot) or a cup cake up at the garden centre we have fantastic news for the supplier as well as yourselves. You will now be able to purchase them through Supervalue in Newmarket courtesy of […]

It is not real

Nothing more frustrating when looking at a web site and the images are just stock photos, that’s why 99.9% of our images on our site are from the garden or garden centre. This is particularly important in our line of work. I guess when stock photos are being used its either due to a lack […]

Make sure it has a crocodile

We are pleased to say that we have just taken stock of some superb quality agricultural hand tools identifiable by the famous Chillington “Crocodile” brand stamped into them at time of manufacture. Not only are they incredibly well made they also have excellent eco credentials. The Hoe heads are designed and manufactured to last as […]

A long time ago…

Well exactly seven years ago today, we left the big smoke of London to come over to Ireland to take over the garden centre known back then as ‘Cottage Garden Nursery’. It all started through an advert in BBC Gardeners World magazine with a garden centre and cottage for sale. Persuading Sarah to ring up […]

I beg to differ

“Mark Keenan, journalist with The Sunday Times (Irish edition) has been writing a piece about allotments in the Home supplement. Mark draws on his experience as a first time plot holder on No 34, and his informative and witty observances make recommended reading” South Dublin Allotments Association Well I beg to differ with the above […]

Worth a look

Just giving a recommendation to a business that recently opened in Kanturk. They are Bee Alive health store it is great to have them so close and offering such a wide range of products at such a competitive price. One aspect of striving to be a greener garden centre is the use of household products […]

Bloom 2009

Welcome to Bloom 2009 Ireland’s largest and most spectacular gardening event. Following its phenomenal successes in 2007 and 2008, Bloom has become a national favourite and one of the most anticipated events on the Irish calendar. Hosted by Bord Bia, Bloom is taking place this year May 28th – June 1st in the Phoenix Park […]

Really Stumped

We are delighted to say that we have made a link with Dermot Casey Tree Care who have over 40 years in arboriculture management. They prides themselves on the professional standards they provide. Over the years there company has accumulated experience in all aspects of arboriculture as well as technical, health and safety qualifications. This […]

Looking forward to rain

Our mini heatwave (all of two days) meant a day of watering in between the masses of customers. It is amazing how quickly anything in a pot can dry so ensure if you have pots baskets etc ensure you give them a long soak. A good tip for a really dry pot is to place […]

We have progress

Like any good workman Brian has learnt the shovel lean so he can contemplate what work lies before him. To his credit though he has been Patrick’s helpful assistant which means doing the manual labour instead of playing in the big boys dumper, digger and loader. Not sure he was so eager after raking out […]

A mountain of plastic……….

When will we ever see the introduction of biodegradable plant pots introduced from nursery stage production through to final sale to our customers. The current situation is that many plastic pots just end up in landfill sites and they take hundreds of years to disintegrate. Even when they do finally break up they break down […]

Kept moist

Sarah is cracking through all our orders and by now is dreaming of hanging baskets in her sleep. Just as you think you have finished we always get a late surge. This year all the basket and boxes are being filled with peat free compost. This should eradicate the need to use water retention agents […]


After over five years of going back and forth with IRD Duhallow we are very pleased to say that we are in receipt of funding as they have recognised the value and initiative of our proposed developments. This was no easy task and involved putting a clear business plan outlining why we met the very […]

And so it begins

And so it begins the ridiculous level of campaign posters. I saw the first load of posters today from an independent candidate and on the five minute drive to pick up the boys I counted 15 posters from the same candidate. Given that both my short and long term memory are fairly good, do we […]

A thought

Nothing to do with Gardening but a thought linked to my last post. ‘I think that the person who has had more experience of hardships can stand more firmly in the face of problems than the person who has never experienced suffering. From this angle then, some suffering can be a good lesson for life.’ […]

Ready for foundation

The area has been cleared in preparation for the foundations of our new building. Once up and dressed the building will be stunning and will allow us to do much more. One of our landscapers thought it would make a great sports bar or lads pad. Already had that thought myself just need to work […]


Had a great chat with a customer yesterday about our mutual love of plants with foliage. It spurred me on to do some bed time reading so I pulled out a book I have not looked at for some time. It is entitled ‘Foliage-dramatic and subtle leaves for the garden’ by David Joyce It has […]

Five weeks of……..

Just beginning five weeks of parental leave from my other job. Where I see an image of relaxation, as do my envious colleagues as they wish me a lovely holiday, little do they know I have five weeks of hard graft ahead, Sarah already has a list of Brian jobs to be completed. Will do […]

Striving for peat free

Sadly our best selling compost is this bulk peat based product, hardly surprising it sells so well as it is by far the cheapest per litre. Many would say that moss peat is wonderful stuff: it’s cheap, sterile, lightweight and pleasant to handle, provided you ignore the environmental cost to bogs. Given the environmental impact […]

it is huge…………

So with a little bit of digging, the bones of a car park which can now hold loads of motors, unless that little old lady in the red car parks across the gate as she does. A new wider gate will be up soon so no more prangs and the tree has remained much to […]

Beware the spanish invader

We are always warning people of the issue of the spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica, syn. Endymion hispanicus or Scilla hispanica). The Spanish bluebell is the worst enemy of the native bluebell because it will hybridise with it; when it does, because its genes are dominant, the traits of the British bluebell disappear within a very […]

We do not want to look like ball boys

Here at The Secret Garden we do not feel that we want us all in bright coloured polo shirts so that we look like mature ball boys/girls. Very corporate and just not us. Instead we have opted for a subtle apron and even better they are made from hemp and have less impact on the […]