We are proud of our status as Bristol’s foremost independent garden centre. Since our foundation in 1987, we have a proven track record of seeking out and actively supporting independent growers, many in the south west, as well as promoting organic gardening.
Riverside is run as a social enterprise and as such we have a number of aims, the main one being to assist projects which make a real difference to local communities. These projects may be organised and managed to their completion by a charity, neighbourhood group or similar organisation and naturally we prefer to promote gardening-related schemes by donating plants, trees and compost. We also donate Riverside vouchers as raffle prizes for fund-raising charity events. In addition, we support schools and nurseries, mainly in south Bristol – our community.
Recent examples of our social outreach are the ‘Secret Garden’ project at Colston’s Primary School, where our gifts of compost, plants and tools, as well as visits from a skilled gardener who worked with the pupils and staff, not only transformed a former garden, but resulted in the school winning a prize in ‘Bristol in Bloom’. For over ten years we have sent seeds to Nepal and Romania where they are distributed among villages to aid food production and encourage self-sufficiency.
We are proud of our place in our local community. We have good links with the local allotment association, offering discounts on plants to the tenants; we support local artists and authors by purchasing gift cards, displaying art work in our Café and selling books. Our noticeboard helps promote events both locally and further afield.
Another of our aims is to play a part in helping to improve the environment. In 2014, we installed large solar panels on our new roof – an important and visible sign of our commitment to sustainable energy. The garden centre has its own colony of honeybees, looked after by two members of staff. The main driveway has become a ‘green corridor’ and we have an impressive array of bird feeding stations. We promote recycling and are an outlet for Bristol City Council’s green waste sacks.
Quite simply, we are a garden centre that continues to offer high quality plants and advice, without losing sight of our founding principles.