Derry garden centre looking forward to a busy Christmas period

Altnagelvin Garden Centre has been in Pauline Peilow’s family for the past 46 years and is well loved by generations in Derry.

Pauline and her staff members are excited to welcome a range of freshly-cut Christmas trees and to help their loyal customers prepare for the festive season while also looking ahead to Spring.

Pauline said: “Our Christmas shop is now in full swing and we’ll have fresh-cut Christmas trees starting to appear next week so, by next weekend, we’ll have a bit of everything out for sale. From there on in, it’ll be full-steam ahead for Christmas!"

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Altnagelvin Garden Centre is loved by people of all ages and walks of life and often people feel solas in the centre and in the staff.

Pauline Peilow, owner of Altnagelvin Garden Centre with some staff members. The garden centre is preparing for a busy Christmas period and looking ahead to Spring.

"People feel a sense of calm when they come here,” said Pauline. “They say that walking about through the greenery with the birds chirping has a real calming effect. Some of our staff have been here longer than me and we really appreciate our customer base. We take our time here to stop and chat and let people know we are here to help. Often people offload on us, so we are here to listen to them and help them get whatever they’re here for. We welcome everybody to come in and have a wee dander because it can help immensely with your mental health. Even us ourselves, we would come out here and breath and remind ourselves to appreciate it all.

"My mum and dad started this 46 years ago and my husband Ian and I took over 26 years ago. There were children coming in when I was a child, who are still coming in now with their children and their grandchildren, so it’s really amazing when you see that. Even if someone is on their phone when they’re here, they say ‘I’m in the garden centre’ and they don’t even have to say which one because the other person already knows they’re here! That’s really special and it’s nice to feel wanted in your community. It’s lovely that people come in for a dander even when they’re not looking for something.

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There aren’t as many jobs to do in the garden in the Winter compared to the warmer months but Pauline says it’s always worth getting out when the weather’s dry.

“On a day were it’s dry and the sun’s shining, it does you the world of good to get outside and breathe in the fresh air,” she said. “Even if you’re only brushing up the leaves or digging a wee hole and sticking something in there where you noticed a space in the summer. Obviously, you pick your days and do the housework on the wet days but a wee half hour or an hour really does help and you sleep so much better at night because you’ve been out to do a bit of exercise. There’s always bits and pieces to be done, even cleaning moss of the driveway. People can always come in here and we’ll tell them what to do too. People often ask about cutting back their shrubs and we will always help – and if we don’t know, we’ll find out!"

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Colourful ceramic pots for sale in Altnagelvin Garden Centre.

"We’re currently trying to make space for our Spring stock so we have a range of things on offer including planters and pots, dog kennels and house plants. People love the greenery inside to cleanse their environment. Some plants like Peace Lilies, Spider Plants and Snake Plant, or Mother in Laws Tongue even help to keep the air purified. There’s also cacti for people who might forget about their plants! We have something for everybody.

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“If there’s something that you want and you can’t quite find it here, you can talk to us and we’ll try our best to pot it up and we can work around your price range if you have a budget. We can also gift wrap in-store and we will just try our best to make everyone happy.”

Creative product placing in Altnagelvin Garden Centre.
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Altnagelvin Garden Centre.
A big bumblebee rests on a heather plant in Altnagelvin Garden Centre.