A green-fingered success story


Posted on: 2nd April, 2014

Category: Highlights

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Bill Chase of Deelish Garden Centre speaks to Mary O’Brien about transplanting to West Cork 40 years ago and growing a business from the ground up.

Forty years ago, Bill and Rain Chase moved to West Cork. Bill, an American and student of psychology and Rain, an Australian with a creative streak, kind of fell in to horticulture. “We started with a rundown farm in Rosscarbery and studied our way through the early stuff,” explains Bill. “The intention was to grow some veg for sale and consumption.”

On a side note, Bill recalls asking one of his neighbours to try a cucumber they had grown. “She came back to me and said ‘I boiled the damn thing for two hours and it still tasted like rubbish’,” laughs Bill. West Cork was obviously not quite ready for the cucumber!

So, tomatoes and lettuce were grown for sale. “It felt too much like a factory line…we were growing veg and bagging it in plastic for sale — not quite how we imagined a life living off the land,” explains Bill.  We also had a small herb nursery including culinary and medicinal plants.

The couple sold up in Rosscarbery and went to Glengarriff where “it was so beautiful but we couldn’t figure out how to make money there,” says Bill. The couple started growing perennials in Glengarriff and it was while making a delivery of plants to a garden centre in Skibbereen — ‘Deelish’, that a possible business opportunity presented itself. The owners of Deelish were moving to the UK and needed to sell the business. Bill and Rain took a chance (“our whole life is a game of chance”, exclaims Bill.) and took over the garden centre.

Thirty years on, the couple has created one of the most reputed nurseries in the country for specialising in rare and unusual plants. “The growing climate is ideal here,” says Bill. The family business, which now has son Noah on board also, as well as Hollie and Karol, has 3000 varieties of plants growing in the nursery, with 300 plants unique in Ireland at Deelish. Plants from online sales are delivered as far afield as Belfast.

Deelish Garden Centre also stocks Chase Organic Seeds and a range of organic sundries such as insecticides, fertilisers and composts.

Deelish Garden Centre is situated on the banks of the River Ilen, one mile west of Skibbereen town on the old Baltimore road ~ fully signposted from the N71.

Open: 10am until 6pm Monday through Saturday and 2pm until 6pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Phone 028 21374 or email sales@deelish.ie. www.deelish.ie.

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Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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