“Without financial success we will not be able to meet our objectives towards our staff, customers and community. We are committed to reinvesting our profits in new infrastructure, products and services for the benefit of our customers and sharing a fixed percentage with our most committed staff.”
Extract from Dunscar’s Five Core Values Statement
Thank you for visiting our website. We are an independent, family run garden centre with a passion for plants. With over one acre devoted to several thousand varieties of outside plants, we believe we offer one of the most diverse and largest selection of plants of any independent garden centre in Lancashire. Over the past 60 plus years and 3 generations of continuous family ownership, the quality of our plants and the loving care we give them, has earned us an enviable reputation amongst keen gardeners and gardening professionals. However, we are keen to share the joys of gardening with beginners and thus novice gardeners can be assured of high quality, jargon free advice from our plant advisors on the selection and care of their plants.
Neverthless, we are more than just a plant centre. As I hope you will see from this website, we now offer high quality catering, a brand new cook shop, outdoor clothing, an extensive gift shop with a range of interior furnishings and an extensive collection of outdoor and interior furniture. Naturally, we also offer a very comprehensive selection of gardening tools and accessories, including a range dedicated to children. I do hope you will be encouraged to visit our centre in person so that I, my husband Shaun, and our friendly staff can look forward to welcoming you in person.
Hilary Lewis, Managing Director
Hilary Lewis, Eric Vickers’ youngest daughter, is the principal shareholder and the Managing Director of the garden centre. Along with her sisters she worked part time on the nursery during her childhood and developed a love of gardening and nature. After leaving Penwortham Girls’ High School, Hilary initially worked as a florist and then studied horticulture in Wales. She later went on to study for a degree in Geography before entering the business full time in the mid 1980s. Hilary then took responsibility for the production and care of the plants and expanded the nursery. Following Eric’s retirement, she and her sister Helen continued to expand the business together as equal partners, before Helen in turn retired and Hilary took over the management of the whole business in late 2003. Hilary remains a passionate gardener, enjoys wildlife, painting and antiques restoration and, with her husband Shaun, is presently renovating a Victorian farmhouse in Bleasdale.
Shaun spent the first 20 years of his working life as an officer in the Royal Navy where he served in a variety of ships and establishments, including submarines. He also trained as a Mandarin Chinese interpreter and lived and worked in Hong Kong and China. In the 90’s Shaun served in the Ministry of Defence Procurement Executive and had regular dealings with British Aerospace in Warton and Samlesbury. It was whilst attending a professional course in the early 1980s with Judith that he met her sister Hilary and began his 30 plus years long association with Dunscar.
After leaving the Royal Navy in 1997 Shaun thought himself privileged to work in the City for Goldman Sachs as Executive Director, Corporate Services Europe. There he spent four very happy and extremely stimulating and challenging years in this role but was finding the separation from Hilary and the regular commuting to London a strain. When the family bought a bungalow and land next to the garden centre it gave him an opportunity to move back home and become his own boss. In March 2001 Shaun set up Dunscar Floral Design and Gifts in part of the bungalow that is now the Garden Café. Six months later he launched Dunscar Wine and Dine in the remainder of the building.
In 2004 Hilary and Shaun agreed that it made sense to merge the two businesses and for Shaun to help Hilary run the combined entity. This they did in January 2005 but in the process the florists decided to leave. Reluctantly therefore, they were forced to close the florist shop and bring forward their plans to convert the building into catering. Since 2005 the catering services have centralised our in the Garden Café building. This was the start of a further 6 years of almost continual development during which Hilary and Shaun have also built a new outdoor plant area, a 600 square metre covered plant area, a 200 square metre cook shop and their latest project, a 680 square metre shop extension and new frontage.
Eric Vickers helped his father Frank establish the business in 1948. Although now retired, Eric remains a director and shareholder in the company and as well as maintaining a very watchful eye on its development, can still be seen most days helping out on the forklift. Before becoming a plantsman, Eric trained as a teacher. It was whilst they were both teaching at Crookings Lane Primary School that Eric and his wife Margaret met in the early 1950s. He was later appointed as headmaster of Mere Brow CE Primary School where he was not only successful in fighting its closure but expanded the school. Eric’s final teaching appointment was as headmaster of Tarleton County Primary School. Eric is passionate about nature, wildlife and gardening. He is also a keen fly fisherman and watercolour artist. His paintings of local landscapes and buildings are well known and examples of them are offered for sale in the Garden Café. Now in his 80s and having lived on the site for the past 60 years, he is the ideal person to describe the history of the company’s rapid growth.
Margaret was also a teacher and taught at Crookings Lane Primary School, Penwortham before taking a break to raise her children and help grow the business. After her children were born she returned to teaching part time at both Mere Brow CE Primary School and All Saints CE Primary School, Hesketh Bank. Although now retired, Margaret is a non-executive director of and shareholder in the garden centre. She still loves contact with children and finds the time to listen to children read a morning a week at a local primary school. Margaret is also keen on nature, wildlife and painting. She is a gifted wild flower water colour artist.