There is no need to send for Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery of Dublin’s disappearing garden centres because even the zebras in the zoo know that those centres, many of which were on large sites, were hovered up during boom times for development.
Luckily there are still some garden centres extant in Dublin but luckier still one rather lovely new one, called Howbert & Mays, opened almost there years ago, in the South Dublin suburb of Monkstown. I say luckier still because verily it’s a treasure trove of garden and garden related goodies.
Howbert & Mays has three co-owners: two of them Anthea Howbert and Tig Mays run the business on a daily basis. It is several shades different from your average garden centre and the driver of that difference is Tig and Anthea’s good taste and their unerring eye when it comes to sourcing products. Their stock is not just stylish but also subtly different from what’s available elsewhere.
Anthea, a history graduate of Ann Arbor University, grew up in Michigan and Tig, a history of art graduate of Dublin’s Trinity College, grew up in Ireland. So how did the pair meet, marry and end up running a garden centre in Monkstown. They answer is they met when they were both studying at the prestigious gardening school at Longwood Gardens. Anthea was doing the two-year professional gardening course and Tig who had been working in Dublin’s Botanic Gardens went to Longwood on a one year internship.
When they finished their studies they came to Ireland and spent two years working as gardeners on the Inish Beg estate in Cork. Then they struck out on their own by setting up a garden design and planting business. They worked at that for ten years and during that period they also started an online retailing store. As the online shop took off they found that their home and garden became swamped with stock. Thus the idea of opening up a bricks and mortars premises gradually took root.
Over the years Tig had sought occasional advice from a business man whose garden he designed. So before signing the lease for the premises, that is now Howbert & Mays, he again spoke to this businessman who was so taken with the couple’s proposal that he went into partnership with them.
The shop part of Howbert & Mays is a veritable Aladdin’s cave where you will find: houseplants, outdoor lighting, books, cards, high quality garden tools, garden furniture, pots, planters, vases, rugs, logs, seeds …. Nothing is outrageously expensive. And outside there is a pretty courtyard garden where they display the plants, shrubs and trees they sell. Anthea and Tig are friendly, approachable, and extremely knowledgeable: they are always happy to answer customers’ queries.
They also offer a design services either as a two-hour shop based session or as the three/four-hour home consult.
Howbert & Mays is a charming place to visit. The stock changes regularly so there are always new goodies to ogle. I rarely go in there without buying something. Anthea and Tig are heading off to a major European garden fair soon so I am looking forward to seeing what they discover there for the shop.
Howbert & Mays: 27 Monkstown Crescent – www.howbertandmays.ie
32 responses to “Monkstown: Howbert and Mays”
I LOVE shops like that, it’s just beautiful. I could spend hours in there.
It’s lovely and the displays are gorgeous. It’s not a huge space, there are lots of different items for sale yet it never feels cluttered. It’s my type of shop. 😉
That’s a very pretty garden centre. Love to visit it. Thanks for the info.
You are welcome. Hopefully you will get there some day.
I can see why you wouldn’t leave there empty-handed. So many lovely items. And nice that the prices are reasonable.
It’s a very tempting shop. There is so much I like there. 🙂
I would be lost in the card section. 🙂
Easy to get lost there. 😉
It doesn’t even look like a garden centre, more like a residence of Professor Sprouts’, absolutely lovely.
Oh dear, I have to confess I don’t know who Professor Sprouts’ is or was – I am now off to google him.
She’s from Harry Potter… 😀
This sounds like a lovely store with lots of character. Although snow is still on the ground here, Matt and I just ordered our seeds that we’ll plant in our garden this summer. So we’ve got gardening on our minds as well!
I hope the snow is not too deep and temperature not too cold. The winter here has been mild, which is great. I wish you lots of luck with the planting it must be fun planning how you want your garden to look. 😉
These are my favourite kind of shops with little gems sought out and gathered from all around and beautifullydisplayed. I could almost smell those hyacinths 🙂
Mine too! There is something special about shops were stock has come from many sources and when it’s displayed so invitingly. 😉
Yes, it is a lovely place. A similar place opened nearby a couple of years ago. Every time I go there, I feel like I’m entering a magic garden. So so good for your soul and your mood! 🙂
It’s always good to have lovely places nearby especially when it feels like entering a magic garden. I wholeheartedly concur they are mood lifting and balm for the soul. Bx 😉
It does look wonderfully inviting and I will retweet it for you, but I don’t need the design service. That’s what my husband does, in a very modest way 🙂
Thank you retweeting it Jo. It must be great to have an ‘in-house’ garden designer. 😉
And washer up 🙂 He doesn’t cook though. Can’t have everything!
Not everything, but that’s a fair amount. 😉
Feel like a celebrity reading this! Thank you. And the photographs are fabulous – way better than any we have ever managed. Tig and Anthea
You are so welcome. And thanks for the compliment on the photos. 😉
Greetings, fellow-blogger. Lovely piece, on a lovely shop. I’ve posted it on my F’book etc. although I better declare an interest, Tig and Anthea are very old, very dear friends of mine. Their shop is beautiful though, and you’ve done it proud. Wonderful pictures too. 🙂 -Arran.
Grettings Arran, Thank you so much for sharing my post on social media, that’s much appreciated. Anthea and Tig’s retail creation is indeed wonderful.
Very good selection of shade loving plants , pots etc and great quality foliage
Thanks Maggie for your comment. 🙂
Really enjoyed your recent blog on Howbert and Mays in Monkstown – really nice pictures also. If ever you happen to find yourself around Cork Street, Dublin 8. Why not pop into Urban Plant Life – we are based at 110/111 Cork Street. We set up our Garden Centre a number of years ago in the centre of Dublin. We also supply plants to a lot of TV and Film production companies. Give us a call and we would be delighted to show you around. (01) 453 6201
Thank you for the compliment on the pics. Urban Plant Life sounds interesting, I will pop in sometime to have a look, but in may not be in the near future. 🙂
That looks like the type of place I could happily spend a day just browsing! You find the best places to share – thanks. 🙂
Charming indeed…it looks lovely.