Peter & Ruth Donnelly - Coachwood Nursery - (specialist nursery and dried flower emporium)

Business Couples Secret Sauce

Jan 2 2021 • 1 hr 4 mins


They say in business, you need to constantly evolve to survive. Well, boy is this the case with Coachwood Nursery that has been adapting and pioneering in the plant business for 50 years. Listen in to hear how Ruth & Peter have achieved ongoing success in both love and their retail nursery/dried flower emporium through good times and bad.

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Some Secret Sauce highlights from this episode:


You have to be prepared to think outside the normal box. You have to be prepared to consider all possibilities and options to change your business if it's not working.  We've had to do that to survive.


You don't want to come home at the end of the day's work and just talk about the business because you really do need to have some space and get away from it. It's important to have other outlets, apart from the business so you can get a break from work and each other. It’s very important to have separate interests as well.


We’re always looking for ways of doing things better. And we've always been experimental even now.  Always improving and rising to the challenge. We rarely do the same thing twice in a row.

Bio & History

Coachwood Nursery was registered with the Department of Agriculture in the 1970's and then expanded when Ruth married Peter in 1979.

Peter completed his training in Horticulture at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College and Ruth at the Ryde Horticultural College.

Ruth managed an Indoor Plant Shop at Wamberal while building a wholesale nursery at Matcham. Peter worked at a retail nursery at Erina Heights, then joined Ruth at Coachwood Nursery.

They also initiated and built a new retail garden Centre at Foresters Beach, which they sold after two years to focus on their wholesale nursery at Matcham.

They moved the nursery to a larger site at Somersby in the 1990's.

For decades they exhibited at Garden Show around Australia and are now open to the public each month at special Open Days and hold regular onsite workshops and at other businesses on the Central Coast.

They are passionate gardeners.

Peter's main focus is edible plants and Ruth's is ornamental.

Both both love all types of plants.