RUNNING ON EMPTY: Joanna and David Scott at the Tanby Garden Centre.
RUNNING ON EMPTY: Joanna and David Scott at the Tanby Garden Centre.

Drought leaves Garden Centre high and dry

WITH almost 70% of Queensland, including our own Livingstone Shire, drought declared, the effects of so little rain are taking their toll and Tanby Garden Centre is feeling the pinch.

Tanby Turf (now Tanby Garden Centre) is the longest established turf farm in the shire and, for the first time in its very long operation, the turf farm has run dry.

Turf Farm and Garden Centre manager David Scott said he had stopped irrigating now dam levels were so low, leaving the remaining water for the wildlife.

“This is a very large dam and right now there is only about 30cm of water left in the bottom, so around Christmas time we had to stop irrigating the turf,” David said.

“With no subsoil moisture in the ground it takes a lot of water to keep a paddock green and, unfortunately, it is no longer an option.

“It will be interesting to see just how drought resistant the species of grass we grow is with no regular watering.”

David said the one other occasion when the dam got this low, they realised they needed to diversify to stay in business and the idea of a garden centre was born.

Today the turf cutters and mowers have been put away and the business must now rely on the nursery and garden centre sales for an income.

“We have a second dam from which we water the plants and, thankfully, this is still operational,” he said.

“The nursery is stocked up with colour, shrubs and trees and the atrium has a beautiful selection of indoor plants just waiting to find a new home.

“Gardeners should remember, at times like this, occasional deep watering is better than frequent light waterings as it will encourage roots down away from the surface thus improving the ability of plants to cope in dry times.

“Mulching garden beds is essential to help reduce moisture loss and, if all else fails, a pot or two filled with colour will be a cheery sight and help keep the drought blues away.”

David said they were now relying on just the nursery and garden centre sales for an income and would need to cut back operational hours and staff to continue to trade through until they received significant rain.

“We are asking for the understanding and support of the community during this time,” he said.

“We will continue to have a great range of plants, pots and quirky giftware as well as all your sand, soils, stones and mulches.

“Come see us during our new operating hours of 8.30am to 2pm seven days a week, starting February 1. The coffee hub will be open on the weekends.

“We are also excited to announce that we will be having a Drought Breaking Plant Sale this coming Australia Day weekend from Friday to Sunday. This is a great opportunity to get planting.”



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