Irish garden centres 'spread happiness' in 12,000-plant community giveaway to kick-start season

Independent garden centres across Ireland have visited surprise locations in their communities to give away more than 12,000 Irish grown plants to 'Spread a Little Happiness' across the nation.

The Garden Centre Association of Ireland project involved 24 centres and was designed to "lift spirits and get the gardening season off to a flying start".

To ensure the greatest chances of success, recipients were invited to join a community Facebook page, giving weekly care tips to get the most from their free gift.

"The weather this spring was atrocious," said John McGuire of McGuire's Plantsplus Garden Centre, Woodstown. "For experienced and beginner gardeners alike, the last three years have been extremely challenging. People couldn't be blamed for giving up on veg patches and hanging baskets as they simply haven't performed."

McGuires Plantsplus and independent garden centres across Ireland wanted to do something about this & want to get people gardening again so organised the event on 25 April. He added: "The stress reduction & health benefits of gardening are widely recognised, and who couldn't do with a little less stress in their lives right now."

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