Greenest Garden Centre - The Secret Garden Centre

Since taking on the centre in 2002, the owners have altered how they trade to reduce energy costs, increase water conservation, sell products with reduced packaging or those that use recycled materials and sell sustainable goods.

Greenest Garden Centre - The Secret Garden Centre - image: HW
Greenest Garden Centre - The Secret Garden Centre - image: HW

The Secret Garden Centre's green procurement policy involves local sourcing of goods and green suppliers. This starts with the plants, which make up a majority of sales. Selecting local nurseries supports local enterprises and reduces carbon footprint.

Within 40 minutes of the centre are two perennial nurseries, one bedding and a vegetable grower, and within another hour are five plant nurseries. When the centre uses nurseries further afield, it uses nurseries that it can employ the same courier to transport from to reduce plant miles.

The centre is also aware of peat-free, reduced peat and organic sourcing as well as biodegradable pots.

Weedkiller ranges are now all from Irish Organic Weedkiller, who won the Green Award of Ireland in 2010. Organic seeds from Brown Envelope Seeds in West Cork are available. The Irish-developed Supernemos Bio Insecticide pest control product is sold and metaldehyde products are not.

The centre recycles cardboard, tins, tetra pack containers, plastic bottles and more specialist items at the local recycling centre including paint, glass and batteries. All food waste is composted, fed to on-site ducks or added to the wormery. All untreated wood pallets are burnt in the Tea Room stove.

The centre uses recycled material paper towels, napkins and takeaway containers that are later composted. The office uses only a little recycled paper.

It has native hedging planted around it and uses Nemasys and natural predators in its grounds. A new wildlife shelter has a green roof and is made from recycled materials. The Secret Garden Centre does not stock invasive species on the list.

The centre uses Airtricity renewable energy company and conserves energy through CFLs and other devices. It is updating security lighting with LEDs. It has updated insulation and burns waste wood for its tea room stove.

It cuts water use by using a hippo bag in cisterns and direct water plants. It has eight water butts on site.

In 2001, the centre ran 16 free talks on site about changing horticultural practices and providing horticultural therapy work placements.

- Judge's comment

"Shows a deeply ingrained attitude to the environment - great work" - Paul Pleydell

Garden & Leisure Gardenlands

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