BE INSPIRED: TURN YOUR GARDEN INTO AN OASIS THIS SUMMER
GARDEN CENTER SCHILLIGER (75 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR)
by Chené Koscielny
As we face a summer at home with little hope for travelling to exotic destinations, we want to make the most of our homes and outdoor spaces – with comfy furniture, pretty flowers and plants, as well as herbs for the balcony and windowsills. If there is one place guaranteed to inspire you to turn your outdoor (and indoor) space into a real oasis this summer, it’s Schilliger Garden Center. This family-owned horticultural business, now in its second and third generation, is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. The business has three garden centers, including the biggest site in Gland, around a 45-minute-drive from Geneva, a smaller center in Plan-les-Ouates in Geneva and another center in Matran, Fribourg.
NOTE: Schilliger has extended their business hours across all three centers during the week until the 31st of May – from 8h to 19h and from 8h-18h on Saturdays in Gland and 8h-16h on Saturdays in Matran. The Gland garden center will also be open Sundays and public holidays, at least until the 28th of June.
A CHANCE TO RELAX AND TO BREATHE
Visiting the Schilliger garden center in Gland is always a real treat and a great trip out for the whole family – even if you’re not serious gardeners. The focus is on family and friendly service. It is so much more than a shop – and has become more like a lifestyle center, concept or destination store – offering customers a chance to relax, escape the humdrum of everyday life and a chance to breathe…
“Our mission is to make people feel at home and to give them a positive, relaxing experience. We also give them personal tips and advice about how to make the best of their outdoor and indoor spaces,” says Camil Schilliger, one of the third generation Schilligers involved in the business.
The emphasis is on providing an extraordinary experience and to inspire customers with a selection of homegrown plants, shrubs and flowers, as well as stylish, handcrafted furniture (outdoor and indoor) and accessories made mostly from raw and natural materials. Some products are carefully crafted by local producers in line with some of the latest international trends.
Get ready to lose yourself among the artistic displays, which even include a delicatessen shop with a great Swiss wine selection. You can also find some trendy clothes. (in Gland and Matran) Check out some of the new clothes brands. www.schilliger.com
GARDEN TRENDS 2020 – CREATE A COUNTRY GARDEN
A big trend this summer is a return to nature and to the countryside – with wild flowers, homegrown vegetables and herb gardens, as well as comfy staycation furniture and accessories made from beautiful natural products. Check their blog (in French) for more trends.
What also sets this garden center apart from other plant stores, DIY stores or nurseries, is their annual events, which have become popular local attractions. We’ve recently visited their dinosaur exhibition which consisted of around 20 dinosaurs dotted around the center.
The annual Christmas market – which has a unique theme every year – is visited by people from miles away who come to marvel at the artistic displays, complete with moving figures and every imaginable detail.
THE STORY – A FAMILY WITH A PASSION FOR PLANTS AND BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS
The story of this horticultural business which currently employs around 220 employees, is the story of one family and their passion for plants and beautiful surroundings.
It was started by Maurice Schilliger in 1945, who sold fortified seeds to local businesses.
Cut flowers and potted plants soon became the central focus of the business as demand grew and he soon became the biggest provider of flowers to florists in the Geneva region. After a while the business was bursting at the seams, which led to the acquisition of four hectares of land in Gland, where the main garden center and headquarters of the business are located today. The Gland garden center opened its doors to the public in 1970.
It was Maurice’s wife, Agnès, with her eye for detail and passion for decoration who started the decoration department. She was followed by her son Maurice Jr who led the diversification of the business into decoration and furniture and the Christmas market, which today is a crucial part of its success.
In the 90s Maurice and Agnès handed the business over to three of their children.
Under the supervision of the 2nd generation of Schilliger, the business grew and diversified even more – now encompassing nearly 20 hectares of plants, a pet center, a café, as well as growing into a recognized “lifestyle” brand and becoming known for extraordinary seasonal displays.
The 3rd generation is involved in the business with 5 members, all of them in charge of a different department within the company.
“It is a big strength in our times to be a family-owned business, because it means we can be really close to our customers – we are on the premises and we want to stay accessible to the public,” says Camil Schilliger, group’s communication manager and part of the 3rd Schilliger generation.
GARDEN CENTER OF THE FUTURE
With an increased awareness of climate change, Schilliger are also shifting their focus to more ecological ways of producing plants, including ultimately relying only on renewable energy. They are setting an example in this regard, regularly offering workshops to educate the public about natural gardening and using fewer pesticides.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SCHILLIGER GARDEN CENTER IN SWITZERLAND