We are first and foremost gardeners, with a passion for plants. It’s this passion that drives us to seek out and find new and exciting varieties to offer to our friends and customers. For almost 40 years we have been growing and introducing new varieties of plants, bulbs and seed to the Irish public. We can justifiably claim to have introduced more new varieties to Irish gardeners in the last 40 years than any other garden supplier. It is this passion for new and old varieties of noteworthy merit that continues to drive us to this day.
In the early 1970’s Thomas Quearney known to many as Mr Middleton started growing plants in his parent’s back garden,by 1973 he had started trading and selling at markets. From the very start he kept detailed records and in our archive we have the first trader’s certificate issued on 28th Aug 1973.
At the very beginning Thomas had a vision for a mail order supply company. The first mail order advertisement appeared in the national newspapers in 1977 offering 13 varieties of vegetable seeds and 6 varieties of flowers. It was the start of our seed business; the supplier was a small seed firm in Cambridge called Ian & Stuart. At the same time he was also trading with the world famous seed company Thompson & Morgan. Within 10 years Thomas had convinced T&M to appoint him as their sole Irish distributor, a partnership that continues to this day. Thompson & Morgan is now the No 1 seed supplier to Irish garden centres.
In 1976 the manager of the local Trustee Saving Bank was so impressed by the young entrepreneur that he agreed to provide a loan for garden machinery with the proviso his father acted as guarantor. The first machinery purchased was a Mantis tiller. The loan book shows monthly repayment of £7.74(old Irish punts) due on the 21st of each month. The tiller continued to work in our nursery every day for over 20 years and it was this love of Mantis and its enduring quality that lead us to be appointed as a distributor for Mantis tillers.
By 1979 the back garden and plots of rented land were no longer big enough and the first nursery was opened in Porterstown, some years later we moved to Oldtown, where we still have a presence. Specialising in growing perennials Thomas developed a range which he supplied to the major retailers of the day, Woolworths, Tesco, Roche’s Stores, and Quinnsworth.
From the early days Thomas’s parents and siblings provided the necessary labour to help expand the business, so it was natural that his brother Garret would join him as a partner in the business. A few years later in 1983 the first full time staff members joined, Alan Murray and Vera Mc Kenna and yet another brother Fergus. Some 30 years later, although some of the team took career breaks, the original five today form the backbone of the great team that is now Mr Middleton.
Our early archive contains lots of interesting material, we know that on November 23rd 1977,
Thomas sold 10 boxes of Wallflowers in the Wholesale Fruit & Veg market, for which he received the vast sum of £4.50(old Irish punts) from which a commission of .45p was deducted.
It also shows the trading that was done with the great garden retailers of the day, Mackey’s of Mary St . Rowans, of Capel st , Caulfield’s of Dame St ,Drummonds of Usher Quay, Hackett’s of Parliament St (later Capel st ).
Today Mr Middleton is the only remaining traditional seed shop in the city centre full old the old world smells of seeds, bulbs and bone meal.
Following our first national mail order campaign in 1986 we opened our South Ann St shop followed by the store on Mary St.In the mid 1990’s the wholesale side of the business had grown to be the major supplier of bulbs, hardy nursery stock and roses to the multiple trade.
But our true love was in retail and mail order so Thomas and Garret made the bold step to sell the wholesale business as well as moving the South Ann street business to Mary St.
The reinvestment we made in the business would see the mail order business grow and the first Irish online garden shop open.
Today Mr Middleton is Ireland’s leading specialist garden retailer. Our shop in Mary Street is a mecca for gardeners, selling seed varieties by the thousands and stocking in season over 2,000 varieties of flower bulbs from around the world as well as good garden tools and equipment.
Our 15,000sq ft. warehouse and office complex in Glasnevin dispatches orders every day to gardener’s throughout Ireland.
We represent in Ireland many of the world’s leading horticultural brands, among them Thompson & Morgan Seed (UK), Becker Underwood Nematodes (UK), Simple Pleasures Bulbs (U.S.) Wout Philippo Bulbs (Holland), Lubera (Switzerland), Bio Green (Germany), Agriframes (UK), Mantis Tiller (US).
We are still a 100% Irish family owned business committed to providing excellence every day to Irish gardeners. The everyday business continues to be run by our founding Directors Thomas and Garret Quearney.
Thomas is responsible for sourcing and developing new products while Garret now heads the team, as he has done for over 30 years that make it possible to deliver the Mr Middleton dream of creating great Irish gardens.
All prices are in EUR.