Now the short evenings and long dark nights have kicked in, the green fingered novices amongst us might find themselves at a loss as to what to do now they can’t get out into the garden to enjoy the fruits of their labour. That’s where Carlow’s Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven comes in. This is one of Ireland’s leading garden centres which earned the title of Bord Bia’s first ever Five Star Garden Centre and recently won the coveted title of Retail Excellence Garden Centre of the Year 2017 and Company of the Year 2016. Based on a ten-acre site, the Arboretum provides a great offering for all year-round gardening entwined with a qualified team of plant experts all under the one roof

Business has bloomed over the last number of years and this year, Arboretum celebrates 40 successful years in business. Rachel Doyle, founder and Chief Executive Chairperson, of Arboretum commenting on this achievement said ‘Celebrating our 40th year in business is a huge milestone for myself and my husband, Frank. We grew Arboretum to what it is today after facing many challenges but we never stopped believing in the dream. We couldn’t celebrate this amazing 40-year achievement without thanking our customers”

Rachel’s entrepreneurial dream to start her own business started after graduating from college in 1976. Rachel identified a niche in the market and the seed was sown. Rachel opened a small garden centre at the rear of the family home and soon the business grew in success. Based in Co. Carlow on a ten acre site, this family run business is a complete shopping experience with a Five Star award winning garden centre plus interior furnishings, a kitchen Store, fashion outlet, pet zone and home to the award winning Rachel’s Garden Café. The Arboretum has also attracted other well-known brands to the centre joining forces with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and ISE Garden and Forest Equipment which adds to its offering 

A great feature of the Arboretum is its inspirational gardens which give somewhere for the young visitors to run around while the adults get some hints and tips on what to plant where and when. 

The gardens were created with two stories. The first story is about how colour affects our moods. This is to help visitors who come to experience a ‘stress free zone’. As the sign at the entrance states this will help visitors create their own dream at the same time showing them that gardening is stylish, fun, sexy and can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of their busy lifestyle. This design shows that a garden can be easy to care for and as in today’s world everyone wants their garden to look well and low maintenance. This inspires our visitors on planting schemes and solutions for their own homes taking into account the environment and plants to attract wildlife and a safe habitat for the birds in winter time.

Gardening is good for you, spiritually, mentally and physically. In this garden we have many unusual trees like Ginkgo Biloba, believe the dinosaur ate it when they roamed the earth. The Liriodendron Tupifolia (Tulip Tree) and many more unusual trees living up to our name Arboretum which is a place where you will find unusual trees, Arbour being the Latin for tree. A visit to the garden is a treat for the amateur or the enthusiastic gardener and they enjoy seeing the use of colour, texture and form in its planting.

The second story which is for the visiting children is Jack on the Beanstalk. The large pond with lots of Japanese Koi is in the shape of a broad bean. The curving path leads the children to the (Taxus) Irish Yew Maize where they have to find their way into the centre to where they will see three large local limestone stones. Listening to the children & watching their imagination work while this explore and discover this garden is truly inspirational. 

So while we can’t spend long summer evenings in our own gardens at this time of year, an entire day can be devoted to just visiting the Arboretum. Take some time out and relax with friends and family in the famous Rachel’s Garden Café and treat yourself to some of its signature dishes made with the very best local Irish produce. The delicious tempting desserts are all made on the premises and customers’ special dietary needs are catered for with gluten, sugar or dairy free options. There is a full children’s menu with a playground and maze adjacent in the gardens to keep the little ones entertained

Here’s to the next 40 Years! 

It's time for you to discover Carlow


Carlow Up Close blog by Woodford Dolmen Hotel

An up close look at the activities and amenities in and around Carlow as recommended by the Woodford Dolmen Hotel Marketing Team. This blog will look at different events and places of interest and recommend timely and seasonal things for both tourists and Carlovians to explore.

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