Blueskin Nurseries History
August 2018 marks 30 years since Mark and Clare Brown opened their retail garden shop on the Main road in Waitati. For the 10 years prior to the 1988 opening, they operated from Doctors Point Road which is now the location of our growing nursery.
Thirty years ago Mark and Clare opened their Blueskin Nurseries in a converted three bedroom villa. And while it appeared out of the way for customers the Brown’s believed its location, just 15 minutes drive north of Dunedin - would attract regular customers from the city and the surrounding rural communities.
They were proved correct, and as the centre’s reputation for quality trees and plants, top service and knowledge provided became known, it began to grow.
After 15 years the 100 year-old "pink" villa was demolished and replaced with a purpose built shop with a wide selection of garden products and giftware.
Mark Brown runs the propagation and production nursery on the original nursery site. We grow and extensive range of NZ native trees, shrubs and grasses along with a large range of hardy trees and shrubs suitable for our diverse Otago climate.
We pride ourselves in having one of the most extensive ranges of quality trees and shrubs in Otago. Each season we select trees and shrubs from a varieties of specialist nurseries throughout New Zealand to insure our customers have the best selection to choose from. Our staff at Blueskin are very passionate about plants and gardening themselves, so are very capable at helping our customers choose the right plant for the right place.
Blueskin Nurseries has gone from strength to strength during the past 30 years, with the pinnacle to date being named the Best New Zealand Garden Centre 2008-09.
Best New Zealand Garden Centre
In 2006 the Blueskin Nurseries Café opened, which added a whole new dimension to the business. And just as the garden centre has become a destination so has the café. In 2010 Mark and Clare’s daughter Sally joined the business having previously gained a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University. Sally and Clare manage the garden centre and cafe together, while Sally has also bought a garden design service to the business.
One of the biggest highlights in Blueskin history is our successes at Ellerslie International Flower Show 2014. Sally Brown did an exhibit garden "Passion" a showcase of plants. She achieved a Silver Award, Supreme Award for Horticultural Excellence and the Yate’s People’s Choice Award.
Our latest project has been restoring St Brigid’s, a wee wooden church on the grounds of the garden centre. Built in 1895, it was owned by a group of artists for a while and streams of sunlight dance through stained-glass windows. We have installed solar panels on the roof which generate 60 per cent of the power used by the nurseries and cafe. Ponds have been dug to recycle water from our run-off, and an edible garden has been created to grow produce for the café. The church is going to be incorporated into Blueskin Nurseries complex as a venue for holding public workshops, gardening classes and events.
Blueskin Nurseries has become a very popular destination. We pride ourselves in having one of the most extensive ranges of quality trees and shrubs in Otago. Our staff at Blueskin are very passionate about plants and gardening themselves, so are very capable in assisting customers choose the right plant for the right place.
We look forward to celebrating with our customers at our birthday weekend on the 17th & 18th November 2018.