Garden centres in Athlone and Mullingar were among the big winners at the recent Bord Bia horticulture awards held in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel.
Austin and Hazel Reid of Athlone’s Fernhill Garden Centre were celebrating in style after Bord Bia announced the centre as winner of the national Small Garden Centre of the Year Award 2008/9.
The Fernhill centre also picked up the Best New Entry award in Bord Bia’s special landscaping awards.
Other Westmeath winners on the night were O’Meara’s Garden Pavilion, Mullingar which picked up special awards for Best Plant Quality and Best Plant Merchandising.
Kelly’s Nursery, Mullingar also scooped a special award in the nursery category for Best Facilities Management.
Almost 200 industry representatives attended the Bord Bia National Amenity Horticulture Awards 2008/9, which were presented by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Trevor Sargent TD.
The awards recognise and promote excellence across three key sectors of the industry. This year Bord Bia awarded 32 garden centres, 24 nurseries, and 11 landscape service providers, while a number of special awards were also presented on the night. In order to participate in the Bord Bia programme, each nursery receives two inspections over a 12-month period.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Sargent said “The world is changing and this industry can be very much a part of the developing ‘Green Economy’ that will lead us out of recession. Bord Bia is consulting with industry representatives on a long-term vision for this sector, so that we can fully develop the potential for Irish amenity horticulture.”
Next month Bord Bia will launch a gardening campaign promoting the benefits of gardening to the public.