Monkstown: Howbert and Mays

howber and mays

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.

howbert & mays interior

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 monkstown

howbeit and mays garden furniture

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.

howbert and mays

howbeit and mays monks town

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.

Howbert and mays

howbeit and mays garden centre

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.

howbert and mays

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.

howbeit and mays monks town

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 –


Filed under Dublin, Shops/Shopping

32 responses to “Monkstown: Howbert and Mays

  1. I LOVE shops like that, it’s just beautiful. I could spend hours in there.

  2. That’s a very pretty garden centre. Love to visit it. Thanks for the info.

  3. I can see why you wouldn’t leave there empty-handed. So many lovely items. And nice that the prices are reasonable.


    It doesn’t even look like a garden centre, more like a residence of Professor Sprouts’, absolutely lovely.

  5. 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. πŸ˜‰

  6. 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 πŸ™‚

  7. 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! πŸ™‚

  8. 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 πŸ™‚

  9. Tig

    Feel like a celebrity reading this! Thank you. And the photographs are fabulous – way better than any we have ever managed. Tig and Anthea

  10. 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. πŸ™‚ -Arran.

  11. Very good selection of shade loving plants , pots etc and great quality foliage

  12. Hello

    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

  13. That looks like the type of place I could happily spend a day just browsing! You find the best places to share – thanks. πŸ™‚

  14. Charming indeed…it looks lovely.

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