New lease of life for old nurseries

Two businesses buck the economic trend by relaunching with the aim of raising standards.

Two nurseries have earned themselves a new lease of life in defiance of the tough economic climate.

Doyles Nursery in Cabinteely, south Dublin, is set to reopen this month, while Halecat Garden Nurseries in Witherslack has reopened following a two-year restoration project.

Doyles Nursery, owned by the award-winning Doylescapes landscaping firm, has been rebuilt on the site of the Doyle family's original plant nursery, which was closed in 2005 following the death of company founder John Doyle.

Doylescapes was set up by brothers Sean and Colm Doyle and on the back of its success the duo have decided to reopen the nursery, recognised in its time as a quality grower of trees and shrubs.

The brothers hope to base the nursery on three points of difference - a "superb" range of high-quality plants, ease of purchasing through a one-stop shop for landscapers, nurseries and garden designers and a comprehensive range of associated products such as compost, fertilisers and tools.

Sean Doyle said he was confident about the success of the nursery because of the continued interest in "staycation" holidays.

"People are still spending on their gardens because they are staying at home and spending leisure time in the house and garden rather than going away on holidays," he explained.

Halecat Garden Nurseries, originally run by Fortune Stanley, has been given a complete revamp by Tom and Abi Attwood through the erection of new beds, polytunnels and the reglazing of the existing glasshouses.

The newly-revamped nursery is trading under the name Abi & Tom's Garden Plants at Halecat and the couple hope to expand the range of herbaceous plants to include shrubs and trees.

Abi Attwood said: "There has been a nursery on the site for about 20 years and in the past five to 10 years we had kept coming down and seeing it going into decline.

"Then my dad saw an advert in HW advertising the lease for the nursery and we took it on and got it to where it is. We opened three weeks ago and all the people who used to come in the past have said they are amazed at what we have done."


"One could argue that starting a business in a recession is a great thing to do, assuming that one can get or has finance in place. As demand falls for materials, so does the price, and if you have cash in a recession then it's a great time to purchase stock and materials. Recessions also sharpen up business practices - they make us focus on stripping out any activities that do not add value and they tend to release creativity and innovation." - Neville Stein, garden industry consultant.

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