Having been a destination nursery for decades, the closure of Carewswood some years ago was a big loss to the gardening community - so its re-opening in 2013, by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable young couple dedicated to its revival and development, was great news for the area.
It’s located within a big old walled garden and the owners, Daniel Leahy and Juulika Lomp, are clearly mad about the place. One of the first things they did was to relocate the entrance away from the main road to a much safer site 500m down a side road and, through both the plant and garden centre side of the business and other developments - including outdoor furniture and well chosen gifts, as well as a delightful café - they have given it a new lease of life.
In contrast to the anonymous commercialism of the bigger garden centres, this is very much a hands-on owner run operation and their enthusiasm is palpable. The café is a delightful space and full of personality.
Like the rest of the business it’s run on very eco-friendly lines, using recycles materials and biodegradable packaging, and not only is everything cooked from scratch but they also grow many of the organic ingredients themselves.
The tempting bakes will catch your eye on arrival - lovely home baked biscuits, scones and cakes are laid out invitingly on the counter - but there’s more to this pretty café than light treats to enjoy with a tea or coffee, and you’ll find savoury temptations too, perhaps including local smoked salmon, free range egg and bacon tartlets and several specialities made with Clonakilty black pudding.
They take pride in using the best quality ingredients and in doing things right, without additives, and the food is simple and delicious. Not surprisingly, they built up a reputation for quality and service very quickly, so a visit to Carewswood has one again become a favourite outing for the growing number of those in the know.
A very useful and enjoyable place to know about.