THE GARDENING bug can bite you anywhere. For Taidhg McCarthy from Broadford, it was during his days in the Army, when he would take the odd visit to nurseries under his environmental control job.
Today, Taidhg has converted his front lawn into a small garden centre full of white chestnuts, hanging baskets and fertilisers that grow â€œlike rocket fuelâ€.
The blooming success of the Broadford Nursery and Garden Centre is another example of how small, sustainable businesses are fighting back against the economic pinch.
â€œThereâ€™s a great demand for a place like this. People like shopping local, because of the petrol and the time they save. You donâ€™t have to be going into Limerick or Newcastle West.
â€œOfficially weâ€™ve been open since the end of February, but weâ€™ve been turning a small profit since last November. Itâ€™s all about supporting local, you know. You canâ€™t be sitting inside watching the televisionâ€.
Taidhg has already started to make an impact locally, providing hanging baskets and pot plants for Tidy Towns groups from Ashford and Castlemahon to Tullylease. Every nook and cranny in his long front garden is stuffed with acers, beech trees, oaks, laurel hedging and dozens of other kinds of flora.
With the help of his wife, Deirdre, and children Ciara, 10, Robert, 9, and David, 3, the small business is already starting to go places.
Taidhg said that the key to his business model is selling large quantities for lower prices, and throwing in a few free extras here and there. When you buy a hanging basket you get the compost and moss lining free. All you pay for is the flowers.
The nursery is dotted with small timber huts, which form the epicentre of Taidhgâ€™s business. Tucked in under thick hedgerows are a small public tea room and a toilet. Directly opposite is Taidhgâ€™s outdoor office, where you can find his small desk and business cards for local loggers and stone masons jumbled up with colourful pictures drawn by his children.
He said that at a time when people are starting to set up their own businesses, the difference between success and failure can be enthusiasm. â€œWe donâ€™t charge for labour at all. As I always say, why would you want to charge for labour when youâ€™re doing something you love?â€
This Sunday from 2pm, the Broadford garden centre will be holding a public open day, featuring ponies from Millicks Bridge riding centre in Dromina.