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In 1920 John Gemmell bought this cottage from Auchinleck Estate. He built the greenhouses to grow tomatoes and other vegetables for local retailers. The cottage and greenhouses were then named Roadend Nursery.
The nursery grew over the years with John’s family working in the business. During the war years they contributed to the war effort. Tomatoes and vegetables were grown in the glasshouses and root vegetables were grown outside.
John’s family took over the running of the business with Andrew living on the premises. By 1965 the nursery was supplying markets in Glasgow and Edinburgh in addition to local retailers and the public. Tomatoes remained their main glasshouse crop and flowers were grown outside.
The next generation of Gemmell’s were running the nursery by 1980. Unfortunately, the oil crisis of the 1970’s almost crippled growers in Scotland and Roadend Nursery was badly affected. Cheap imports from Holland also swamped markets reducing the market value of Scottish produce.
In 1991 Ian Gemmell’s son Colin bought the nursery and started growing bedding plants for Glasgow and Edinburgh markets and local retailers. He renamed the nursery Nurseries Direct to reflect the nature of the business. Over the next few years he started opening to the public and built a retail area and coffee shop.
Nurseries Direct grew quickly from 1991 turning more and more towards the retail sector. By 2004 Nurseries Direct was a fully fledged garden centre supplying the public only. The coffee shop was also extended to seat 124. A new phase begins in June 2004
The new frontage was completed in November 2004, this brought all the individual buildings together behind one impressive structure. Four months later in March 2005 the plant canopy was erected to offer customers a sheltered area to shop for plants. As Nurseries Direct got busier there became a need for more seating in the coffee shop.
In June 2008 the new coffee shop extension was completed taking the seating capacity to 250.
The servery area was then refurbished in 2009.
With the introduction of a soft play with it's own cafe and a change in some of the lines we stock, introducing more toys and new clothing lines, new suppliers in the gift department and to refelct a move away from growing, the name was changed back to the family name, Gemmell.
Gemmell's Garden Centre got it's new sign in time for Christmas 2013 and slowly but surely the inside is starting to reflect the new image, which has a fresh and friendly feel, with quality and affordablility still being uppermost in what we offer.
Visit Scotland awarded us four stars for the eighth year running and recommended a change from Garden Centre to 'Visitor Attraction'. Watch this space!