It could be said that the original idea of Saintfield Nursery Centre began by accident when following the marriage of Jim and Kathleen Lunney in 1954 they advertised in an evening newspaper seeking a “House or Cottage to rent with a garden convenient to Belfast”. Receiving a single reply from an owner near Carryduff and while continuing with their present employment they commenced their effort with a spade, a digging fork, two garden hoes and a planting trowel plus a second hand cycle for Jim to travel to his employment on.
In 1959 they rented their first field from a retired farmer for £14 yearly where their then four year old son, Ken, planted his first plant – a Chrysanthemum max. ‘Wirral Supreme’. These plants were to become a reliable source of income for his parents.
In 1963 Jim and Kathleen had the opportunity to buy a cottage and garden on the Old Belfast Road, Saintfield called Woodside Cottage. Here they started to grow Chrysanthemums, Dahlia and Pyrethrums. As time progressed they were able to build glasshouses and they started to grow Tomatoes and Lettuce and later Geraniums, Fuchsias and summer bedding plants then shrubs and alpines. Woodside Cottage was then Woodside Nurseries a very popular well stocked nursery.
When Ken finished school and college he assisted his parents in the wholesale end of their business and then in 1982 he and his wife Beth purchased the site on the main Belfast Road, Saintfield.
At first plants were grown in the fields and taken to the nursery on the Old Belfast Road to sell but after Ken and Beth built their house in 1987 more and more people started to call for plants and the business started to take off.
The business was called Saintfield Nurseries for many years; a name picked by their son David, but was changed in recent years to Saintfield Nursery Centre. With a lot of hard work over the years the business has expanded and become a very successful Garden Centre. A few years ago Ken and Beth were joined in the business by their daughter Gillian.
|1982||Ground purchased and 1st Polythene Tunnel erected|
|1985||1st Greenhouse and 13 Polythene Tunnels erected|
|1987||Lorry container purchased for Beth to use as shop. Small car park added. Wooden shed built for potting plants and mixing compost.|
|1990||Additional 3 acres of land purchased|
|1991||2nd Glasshouse built|
|1995||Shop and offices built|
|1996||1st multi-bay polythene house for bedding plants built|
|1999||Warehouse built for storage|
|2007||Asphalt car park constructed|
|2008||Sales area canopies added and sales area tarmaced|
|2010||New covered area leading from car park to shop|
|2011||Started selling solid fuel|
|2013||March Snow Blizzard – Serious damage and destruction caused by snow severely damaging sales and growing areas.|
|2013||Planning to build better|