FOLLOWING on from their success in the Green Awards 2012, when they scooped Green Retailer of the Year, The Secret Garden in Newmarket, Co. Cork, have now picked up a further award, 'Greenest Garden Centre across UK & Ireland' in the UK's Garden Retail Awards 2012, beating big-name finalists including Homebase.
The garden centre, which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, has constantly strived to bring environmental issues into the home gardening market - unlike most garden centres they stock organic garden products, and promote organic and wildlife-friendly gardening practise through their free gardening workshops and demonstrations. There is a bee garden to promote bee-friendly planting, complete with a working bee-hive, and free range hens and ducks wander amongst the plants and customers.
The judges based their decision on how the garden centre is run, what products are sold (and just as important, not sold) and their eductaional role in the community. One of the judges, Paul Pleydell (Design & Business Consultant to the garden centre industry) commented that The Secret Garden team "Shows a deeply ingrained attitude to the environment - great work".
Owners Sarah Evans & Brian Paterson commented: "What a year, after winning Green Retailer of the Year, and making it as a finalist in the Blog Awards, this is just the icing on the cake. It's great when a small, independent garden centre can take on the big guys, and as well as that, it's a coup for Cork to scoop a prize in a UK Awards ceremony!"
If that wasn't enough, the now not so secret tea room at the garden centre has been included in this year's McKenna's Irish Food Guide. Reviewer Caroline Hennessy raved about this "cultish Cork garden centre that has so much more than just plants. Who could resist, especially since the tea comes in proper pots with china cups and real home baking."