As I garden In the Clonmel area I have always regarded Glenconnor Garden Centre as my local and first bought plants there in the 80’s for my garden in Rosslare from Terry who stocked plants that were difficult to find anywhere else . Nowadays like all garden centres they have to rely on the restaurant and peripheral sales of barbeques , Halloween and Christmas paraphenalia to survive and while Terry’s son, Chris , has stepped up manfully and Sharron is a pleasure to deal with , Susan as Plants Manager has a huge gardening knowledge and has kept up the tradition of sourcing unusual plants so I rarely miss a week without checking out the plants display . Nowadays these type of unusual plants are stocked less and less as customers nearly all go for the bread and butter type plants where you can’t get a sale unless the plant or shrub is in flower .. but for me Glenconnor with will always be my local !
Kilcoran Garden Centre would be my number 2 favourite garden centre and as it is a bit further away from Clonmel I don’t go as often but still will aim to scout the plants there once a month as MarySkelly is probably now the best for plants and the area is always packed with healthy reasonably priced plants at all times .
Woodies , Clonmel although a supermarket type garden centre is worth a visit now and then . Their plants are never under cover which I like so no nasty shocks when you plant them out in the garden, a good variety of plants which are well maintained and rotated on the shelves .
Johnstown Garden Centre , Naas is the best in the country for plant variety and if they don’t have it nobody will ….. but at a price as Johnstown are famously expensive catering as they do for a Dublin audience . I only buy there what I absolutely must have , that one off perennial or shrub but a great garden centre to visit once in a while .
I am not a fan of the Arboretum in Carlow as they have most of their plants displayed in a covered area which especially in Spring cossets the plants and leads to a shock for them when planted out in the garden and I have seen plants displayed in full flower ( hydrangeas especially ) at least two months before they would flower in nature .
Having said that I am conscious that garden centres because of the way the average garden centre visitor nowadays generally won’t buy a plant unless it is in flower so it is a trade off between allowing the plant to progress at its own pace or losing a sale …. a rock and a hard place and I don’t envy the garden centres as at the end of the day it is all about balance sheets .