Plymouth garden centre gives away plants celebrate 60th anniversary

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Centre News, News | 0 comments

Plymouth Garden Centre celebrates 60 years

Sixty community groups have been given plants and gardening supplies worth £60 from Plymouth Garden Centre, which has marked its 60th anniversary with a ‘big give back’.

The Crownhill-based garden centre was founded in 1964 by Tom Newton, and is now run by his granddaughter, Fiona Newton, and her family.

Repeating an initiative which it carried out for its 50th and 55th anniversaries, the garden centre has given away a batch of supplies to organisations and charities for every year of business.

Third-generation owner Fiona said: “It’s my family business and this is our 60th year it was started by my grandfather and some other people, and now it’s my family and I who run the garden centre.

“On our 50th anniversary we did it, we also did it for our 55th, and we are doing it again for our 60th. Essentially,” she added, “we are supported by our community and we would not have made 60 years without all our customers, so we always want to give something back and help projects, and also help some of the younger generations get into gardening and make it fun.

“The idea is that we made 60 donations to 60 organisations or charities of £60 worth of gardening but we’ve actually done a few more and have a few things going on.

“I’m donating to the garden up at the hospital which is for the patients and the staff, they have a secret garden so I’ve been in there and had a look around and they try and do that in their lunch hours.

“There are a few other ones at the hospital we’ve helped one of the cancer charities who are going to Devon County Show and we do ongoing things during the year, but this was our big 60th give back.”

Fiona said that getting the next generation of gardeners involved was among her priorities, so childcare nurseries have also been included among those receiving donations to encourage youngsters to get growing.

She said: “Since lockdown as well, everyone has realised how important gardens or just growing space are you don’t have to have a garden, you can grow something in a pot on the back door step.

“It’s nice if you have people who are experienced at gardening, helping the younger generations get into it. The future generations are really young, but they like doing things like growing strawberries and eating them.

She added: “We have donated to nurseries like my son’s nursery and they are having a go at growing at four years old. People can get out, get outside and it’s good for your health and good for your soul.”

Soraya Lewis-Coleman, of Woolwell in Bloom, said they were grateful to have been among the groups receiving donations having received their first donation as an organisation as part of the 55th anniversary giveaway.

Soraya said: “It’s absolutely amazing and with what we’ve got today I’ve already earmarked where they are going.”

Plymouth Garden Centre is set in a Victorian fort. Bowden Battery was built in the 1860’s as part of a ring of defences around Plymouth to protect the Naval Dockyard from a land attack.

Many of the original features remain.

The outer wall with rifle slits runs along the back of the car parks. The original entrance remains and the drawbridge mechanism is visible.

As you walk through the gates you are walking over the original drawbridge which lies beneath you. The main guardhouse block is at the entrance too. You can find other original features as you walk around including gun emplacements with circular railways; tunnel entrances and ammunition stores.

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