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Local Business

New turf in town with Delma Harrison

Palmers Landscaping which is a branch of Palmers has come to Whitianga and the Coromandel Peninsula, and Delma Harrison is the face of that business.
 |  Pauline Stewart  | 

Shelby and Delma.

Delma and her son Jonathan have owned and operated Palmers Garden Centre, in Remuera, Auckland for 17 years. They have sold Palmers and the café and Jonathan is now managing the landscape business. Delma has come to make her home in Whitianga after being here for vacations for many years.  Delma would come up to Whitianga late in the week and return very early on Saturday morning.

“We were open seven days a week at the Garden Centre in Auckland so that was a regular pattern – be here for the customers the entire weekend.”

and she has brought part of her Auckland business with her to Mercury Bay. “I am not one to sit back and retire,” says Delma.

“When you see the transformation of people’s property, it inspires you to keep on improving and developing what you can do. Turf development is our focus at this time. The result is very long term and so gratifying for the homeowner.’ That’s what Delma is going to focus on in her business in this region – real to life hard wearing grass, that is low maintenance, looks great all year round and is child and pet friendly.

Delma has always been in business.  She came to New Zealand with her family from Wales as a young child in 1962. One of her early jobs was in the hospitality industry. She started at the Duke of Marlborough when she was 24 years old.

“I was a Hostess and eventually became a director of that company. Over the years I have had 44 businesses. I love it. We developed a great reputation at Palmers Garden Centre for doing an honest business – good service, good food, quality products.  People need to enjoy their browsing and shopping. We didn’t get customers because of the convenience for them.  We would create an ambience in which they felt comfortable.”  Palmers has always been our family business – we have all worked in some part of the business –  children and grandchildren.

“During Covid, we opened the Garden Centre in our Palmers Centre carpark for seven weeks form 6.00am to 6.00pm. We made it into a kind of Mardi Gras as an antidote to the cabin fever people were experiencing.  Everyone kept a metre and half apart and that way we kept the garden centre going even though we had to close the café.  It was tough but everyone was working together. As a result, people were able to do their gardening and improve their landscaping during Covid.  I believe it improved their outlook during a hard time.”

Delma loves hospitality. “That is what is great about Palmers, “she says. Having that cafe – people can enjoy eating while they are surrounded by plants and seedlings and flowers. What could be better?