Latest Laois News: No wrecking the buzz at Solas Eco Garden Centre

Latest Laois News: No wrecking the buzz at Solas Eco Garden Centre



Planting thousands of wildflowers and nurturing them without the use of harmful chemicals has paid sweet dividends for the people at SOLAS Eco Garden Centre and Artisan Food Markets in Portarlington. 

Jars of the lovely nectar are now being stocked at their sustainable eco shop from their hives on site at the sprawling centre.

Co-Owner and Horticulturist John Carey says

“Exactly one year after we set up our first hive at SOLAS Eco Garden Centre, we have our first batch of honey produced, bottled and for sale in our eco shop. Local honey in SOLAS from hive to shelf in a distance of no more than 100 Metres!Imagine, metres, NOT miles. The very definition of  sustainable production !”

“The story of our honey is that of sustainable practices and techniques. We don’t use any harmful chemicals or pesticides whatsoever and this is really what has made the difference. It just shows how nature reacts and responds when it is given a chance. Instead, we have incorporated organic processes, including biological pest control, with supernemos, parasitic nematode which controls many pests without the need for bee killing chemicals. We have also adopted a safe weed control practice using hot foam spray application to prevent weed growth. We used native Irish plants and flowers and the bees are truly buzzing for them”.

“Bee colonies have thrived here at SOLAS in the past year. We have gone from just one hive to 4 in just under a year. Each hive is made up of 15 frames and as the colony grows, extra frames are added until all 15 are occupied. Once the hive is full, swarming can happen and the hive splits to create a second queen cell and second colony”.


“A happy hive is crucial!  Our lucky bees have access to our native wildflower meadows and native trees including hawthorn, birch, pine, lime trees and ivy which all offer much needed pollen for bees in Winter”.  “We planted thousands and thousands of wildflowers”.

“We now have 90,000 bees; it is a marvellous success as bee propagation is a careful painstaking process. We as we had to monitor the hives closely and then split them at the most opportune time. Our own honey is a marvellous addition to our SOLAS Eco Shop”.

Portarlington sees opening of Ireland's first Eco Garden Centre
Solas Eco Garden Centre, Portarlington, Co.Laois

“Here at SOLAS, we are doing all we can to reverse the trend of plummeting bee numbers. Bees account for 80% of all pollination in the wild. They are responsible for pollenating our garden plants, wildflowers and vegetables. The remaining 20% is performed by wind, birds and bats. Without them our food yields would likely drop by 80%”.