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Devon Cuttings


GARDENERS CUTTINGS


a look at news, events and happenings in Devon


Plymouth Garden Centre celebrates golden anniversary


Plymouth Garden Centre is unusual in more ways than one: it is a garden centre located on an historical site in a city, one that has been run by three generations of the same family and for 50 years. This year sees their golden anniversary.


The garden centre, high above the River Plym, is within a Victorian Fort. Bowden Battery was built in the 1870s 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. The main guardhouse block is at the entrance. You can find other original features as you walk around including gun emplacements with circular railways, tunnel entrances and ammunition stores.


So a visit to this garden centre is one with a difference, combining part of England’s – and especially Devon’s – history with a modern, attractive place to buy plants of all types, containers of all sizes, garden sundries, gifts, or just to browse and then enjoy refreshments in the coffee shop.


The garden centre is owned and run by Paul and Penny Newton and their daughter Fiona. It was started in the autumn of 1963 by a few local people


including Paul’s parents Thomas and Winifred Newton who ran the business for many years. In 1980 Paul took over the business from his father and associates and has developed a successful business with his wife, which Fiona now runs and continues to develop.


“The fort was used for storage but never was in combat,” said Fiona. “It gives character to the garden centre.”


“We sell to city gardeners, with courtyards or balconies, not large country gardens, so plants in pots and containers are very popular. My father started ‘planting recipes’, plants and containers grouped together with a theme – Easter, say, or a particular colour scheme – with a display arrangement as a suggestion, and the plants and containers round it,” said Fiona.


The garden centre, which is open daily, has a friendly team ready to offer practical advice and good customer service.


Plymouth Garden Centre, Fort Austin Avenue, Crownhill, Plymouth PL6 5NU. Telephone: 01752 771820. www.plymouthgardencentre.co.uk


Country Gardener 3


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