May 27, 2024
‘Wet, wet, wet’ – garden centres see drop in sales

Met Éireann says the wet weather is likely to continue and there won’t be any real improvements before next week.

It’s not just farmers who have been affected; garden centres have also seen a drop in sales and some experts say the record rainfall can affect people’s moods.

Garden centres like Daingean on the outskirts of Galway city are reporting low footfall and a drop off in sales due to relentless rain.

Christine Heverin struggled with two potted plants that she was replacing in her “swamped garden”.

“I love my garden and I’ve been passionate about growing plants and flowers for over 40 years. But I’m devastated by what has happened this year. The rain has turned everything into a swamp. Please God this terrible weather will subside. I’m a positive person but this is breaking my heart.”

‘Wet, wet, wet’ – garden centres see drop in sales
Peter Cunningham says ‘it feels like it’s been raining since last July’

Daingean Nursery owner Peter Cunningham says: “We should be absolutely hopping this time of year with customers coming in. But people are holding off because they can’t even get into their gardens it’s so wet.

“On the very odd good day people are trying to make an effort and you see an influx, then it drops off again the next day because there’s more rain and more wind,” he explains.

“I suppose the only advantage to us this time of year from a production point of view is that there’s very little frost, and frost is the big problem for us because we’ve young tender annuals and plants that have to be mined.

“We’ve had very little minding to do as regards frost,” he says, however Peter gives a wry chuckle, adding he’d rather be covering his plants at night and putting up with the frost in order to do be doing a bit of business. He shakes his head and sighs.

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“It’s just wet, wet, wet. We’ve had all sorts of seasons but wet wise this is definitely the worst. I mean, it feels like it’s been raining since last July. Now we had three lovely weeks in September but that was it and then rain all throughout the winter.”

Peter is counting the cost financially, explaining. “Our cash books will tell you exactly the story. There is a correlation between our cash books and the weather.

“Absolutely we are way down, way down on last year,” he adds. “But having said that it’s swings and roundabouts, you lose out a certain amount of business that will never come back into you because time has moved on. But a lot of people, as I say, are waiting for decent weather so we will be busy when the weather gets fine.”

He roared laughing at the break in the weather forecast for next Monday? “They’re telling us it’s going to settle from next Monday. Can we believe them. Here’s hoping!”

Celia Grealy says her garden is blooming

There are a number of ladies making their way around the garden centre including Celia Grealy who is in her 90s. She says she was delighted with the rain.

“Well I’m over the moon. Absolutely delighted. The garden is blooming and everything looks lovely. And it is all thanks to the rain.”

Pat Figgis blames climate change for the wet weather

Pat Figgis lives on the Conamara coast and says the storms are ever increasing

“It’s all down to climate change. I knew it was coming years ago by the way my plants were behaving and you notice it when you’re gardening every day. But everybody just talked and nobody wanted to believe it was happening or do anything about it. I’m so disheartened.”

She says her trusty polytunnel was no longer safe anymore.

“I used to grow whatever I liked all summer and winter but now my poor polytunnel is in danger of being swept away. What can one do. No one person can change things but we can all take responsibility for what is happening around us.”

Johanne Webb has seen a surge in people seeking her counselling service

In Oughterard, Johanne Webb runs a counselling service for people affected by low mood and in some cases Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Typically she sees more clients in dark winter months but she has experienced a surge in people seeking her help during the ongoing, relentless rain.

“When people are low it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house and go for a walk, drop by a friend, connect in some way. And it’s particularly difficult when there are floods and heavy rain every day. Yet it’s so important to throw on the jacket and wellies and get some vitamin D in the outdoors so that you can have a stable base line.”

Johanne celebrated her 46th birthday today by planting some trees in memory of loved ones lost.

“What’s really in my heart at the moment is returning to the natural earth, getting your hands immersed in the clay and remember what it is to grow and be connected with the earth. It’s so good for the soul and so good for the mind.”

Johanne also runs a Grief Cafe on Mondays in Éan restaurant on Druid Lane in Galway City. She provides a safe setting where people can talk and read and reflect on loss at their own space.

“Winter weather can have a significant impact on mental health, particularly in rural areas where isolation and loneliness are more prevalent.

“As a mental health professional, I’ve seen first hand how this can lead to feelings of disconnection and hopelessness.

“To help my clients manage these feelings, I use a variety of coping mechanisms and interventions, including group sessions, one-on-one meetings, and nurture the importance of connection and community.

“I emphasise the value of peer spaces and the loss of community, highlighting the need for people to reach out to each other and remember that even small acts of connection can make a significant difference in improving mood and overall well-being,” she says.

Margaret and John Clayton enjoy a dip in the Atlantic Ocean all year round

In Salthill, there were people swimming in the sea like Margaret and John Clayton. They take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean all year round in all weathers.

Margaret beams fresh from plunging into the waves, saying: “It’s our therapy. We started taking daily dips during Covid and haven’t stopped. Sure what’s the big deal with the rain. You’re going to get wet anyway!”

Her husband agrees. “You’re only in for a minute. You don’t have time to think about it. And the benefits are enormous.”

And just like that, the Claytons skipped off like frolicking teenagers, buzzing from their invigorating icy dip in the sea and unfazed by the rain pouring down from the western sky.