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There’s nothing quite like a florist in full bloom for adding that extra special sparkle to a market. This year, The Garden of Oxford celebrates 40 wonderful years since it was created right in the heart of The Covered Market.

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It’s really quite something to think that throughout The Garden’s long and treasured history, their staff have helped bring joy and wonder to so many people’s households, tributes and special events.

The Garden began in 1983 by Colin Bonner – former owner of Bonner’s fruit and veg. In 1984 Paul Birtles, the now owner of The Garden of Oxford became the shop manager.

“We are in great company, this year The Oxford Cheese Co. and Ben’s Cookies are also celebrating 40 years of being here.  Although it might not seem terribly significant when you consider that John Gowing Jewellers has been in The Market for 77 years, Browns Cafe for 99 years, Bonners since 1952 and Cardews moved into The Market in 1965. All in all this accounts for nearly 1000 years of trading”

Paul Birtles, owner The Garden of Oxford

The Garden threw a fantastic Anniversary party. The shop was brimming with familiar faces representing traders, staff and customers past and present.  Fizz was flowing, canapes were provided by fellow trader Brother’s Cafe, and the stunning cake was created by The Oxford Cake Shop. Colin Bonner was there too to raise a glass with the rest of us. Stories of how couples met through working in the market were being swapped. Reunions were happening, and cheers filled the roof as Paul Birtles made a wonderful speech and the team got together to cut the Anniversary cake.

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We asked what meant the most to Paul and his staff about this big day.  His reply was typically community-minded…

“For us the occasion is a special opportunity to say thank you to those who have helped us on our journey.”

Not only did they celebrate in style, they were proud to highlight that this special night alone had raised over £1500 for Sobell House.

Hip Hip Hooooray to the Garden’s wonderful team and to all who have indeed helped them on their journey – long may it continue!

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Hear about more about The Garden’s past 40 years

Independent Oxford interview

The Oxford Mail interview