Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 1

Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 1

In this first Episode of Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin we are welcomed into Diarmuid Gavin garden in Bray, Co Wicklow.

What a great start to a programme, LP on the stereo, 'here comes the sun' plays,  Pot of coffee brewing and Diarmuid heading out into the garden to enjoy it all.

He tells us about how important the garden has been to so many this year and this programme will get us all 'Gardening Together'.

Diarmuid Gavin house

Diarmuid tell us how they have lived in their new build house for about 13 years and is in a lovely location but the house was a bit traditional.

It took a while for him to know what to do with the blank space but inspiration came in the way of a double storey verandah.

This meant the inside merged with the outside and he could grow all sorts of things around the house that can also grow all the way up.

Diarmuid Gavin house

The site is on a slope so he also terraced the garden and started from the top terrace designing the garden and planting it.

He still has lots to do in the garden and over the series we will see him make more changes to the garden as well as give us ideas for our own gardens.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid shows us his Hydrangea Annabelle and shows us we can easily propagate new plants from it.

He is using a process called layering and using a stem he rubs the outer layer off with a knife exposing the green layer.

Hydrangea Annabelle

Using a metal U shaped pin made out of an old coat hanger he secures the stem to the ground and then covers it with soil.

After about a year you can snip it off from the main plant and dig it up and replant somewhere else.

Question time
Rita Galvin: is it ok to compost weed?. Diarmuid says 'no'!

Diarmuid Gavin

Any tips what to do with the lawn the dog has dug holes? Diarmuid says 'we have a thing about lawns, dogs and children they shouldn't be perfect'.

Rosemary, Catmint and Lavender are all Mediterranean plants that need well drained soil, once watered in, forget about them.

Garden makeover

Diarmuid says he loves helping people with problem gardens or people who don't know what to plant or need an overall design.

Diarmuid Gavin

Mary from Co Wicklow

He video calls Mary Fitzpatrick from Co Wicklow who has a lovely house in a lovely location but her front garden desperately needs sorting out.

Diarmuid comments on the fantastic view and Mary shows him via her tablet.

Mary from Co Wicklow garden

Mary from Co Wicklow garden

'Horses or cows' asks Diarmuid? A disgruntled Mary points out they are her pet ponies!

It is surrounded by the Devil's Glen Woods so it is not exposed.

At the front of the house there is just a vast expanse of lawn with nothing to tie it into the landscape.

Diarmuid asks how they use it? Mary says they come in from the side and just walk straight past the windows to the front door.

Diarmuid Gavin

She wants to change where you come into the garden at the other end to help with privacy issues.

Diarmuid asks about her gardening skills? Mary is learning more this year and a lot from groups on Facebook etc.

7 brides, she has 2 to go, as has 2 son in laws and 3 of her daughters boyfriends she plans to rope in to help her.

Mary is so pleased Diarmuid is going to help her and cannot wait for the plan to arrive.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid goes off to start sketching the design.

The lawn is not perfect which he loves as it is good for pollinators, so that will just be re-shaped.

Cottage style perineal planting, shrubs and trees will frame the view.

Either end will have some fencing to make it feel more enclosed.

Garden and outdoor spaces are so important to us this year and Paddy McAree from Belfast contacted Diarmuid to show him what he and his neighbours had achieved during lockdown.

Paddy McAree

They have a gated alleyway at the back of the terrace houses they have just a yard at the back.

They cleared all the bins out of the alley and gave it a good clean to make a safe place for the children.

Paddy McAree

It started with a few plants being put out and a notice to say the bins had been moved and no one complained.

There are no front or back gardens, so the plants all help and people started bringing chairs out to socialise. 

People were feeling isolated and finding the lockdown frightening so this really helped.

Belfast back alley

'The community just evolved organically'.

'It's been a saving grace'. 

Belfast back alley

Once one did it, they all wanted to join in.

The residents show off their wonderful plants, a lemon leaf scented Geranium and a stunning pink Hydrangea.

Cousin Elvis

Even my Irish cousin was there! Pete Free 🌻

Paddy says 'people have been caught by the buzz' and how good it is for you to sit amongst the plants.


Diarmuid Gavin house

Question Time

Jeanie in Co Down: She lives on the coast and the lawn is suffering. Diarmuid says it could be shade, drainage, you need to find the underlying problem first to be able to sort it. 

lawn problem

He likes the moss but you can treat with Sulphur of iron.

The next questions are done by video calls so Diarmuid can get a good look.

Diarmuid Gavin house and Dex McLoughlin

Dex McLoughlin from Co. Wicklow has been growing her own fruit and vegetables for 13 years but the last couple of years they have not done so well.

She has a huge Eucalyptus Tree on the border of her vegetable plot and suspects this is the problem.

Dex McLoughlin garden

Diarmuid confirms this probably is as they are very thirsty trees and are sucking all the goodness and moisture out of her soil.

Dex agrees with Diarmuid as there is also a lot of shallow big roots in her soil.

Solutions are raised beds of about 30cm made out of wood or sleepers or move the plot to a new site.

Hydrangea problems, Marie has one that was only planted last year but the lower leaves are turning red.


Diarmuid calls on Conrad McCormick from North Antrim who tells Marie its nothing to worry about.

Conrad McCormick

He shows us his Prunus that has the same problem and says its down to stress because of the dry Spring and it will recover with the recent wet weather and by next year it will be back to normal.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Diarmuid has a bit at the end of the garden that is a problem. Last year he decided to start a sunken area for family to all be in together.

Diarmuid Gavin house

He can have a fire bowl and it will also to be secluded and private and the fire will keep the midges away.

With all the digging done its time for the contractors to start the concreting.

Diarmuid Gavin house

He has come across a lot of wrought iron in the ground as the land was originally part of the Jameson Whisky family Estates. 

Diarmuid is hoping to strike Whisky gold one day buried in the garden!

Next the supporting walls are done to enclose the sunken area and to use as seating.

Garden Makeover Design
Back to Mary and her problem front garden in Co Wicklow and Diarmuid sends Mary his garden plan.

Mary garden design

Mary garden design

The new path curves round taking you away from the window but using the original entrance point.

The front door will have a new pergola or archway to frame her lovely entrance door.

Marys garden makeover

Either end are decorative fencing to enclose the space and separate the play area.

The lawn island is surrounded by all year round planting using bulbs, Hellebores and roses to make an idyllic garden.

Marys garden makeover

Mary says 'it's fantastic, i hope we can pull it off'!

She puts her daughters and partners to work just one week later digging the new path and flower beds.

Helen Dillon is described by Diarmuid as 'the doyenne of gardeners world wide' he first met the floral border expert 30 years ago.

Helen Dillon

She first found plants to be magical at the age of just 4 years old and now at 80 she still finds gardening so rewarding.

It is very good exercise as you forget all your aches and pains.

Helen Dillon garden

She loves the upsey downsey look now as her tastes have changed from a flat border.

She loves things that excite the eye.

Helen Dillon garden

One of her favourites are Dieramas or Angel's Fishing Rods and they need full sun but is thriving in her Dublin garden.

Helen Dillon garden

Delphiniums are another favourite that are just finishing their first flower so she will cut them right back and will flower again in August.

Helen Dillon garden

Helen tells us a must buy is a Rose called Rosa 'Olivia Rose Austin' that never stops flowering.

She thinks repetition in the garden is important and plant new exciting things.

If you don't like it, well start again and keep changing things.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Diarmuid is carrying round his dog to stop him escaping due to the contracters but the project is nearly done.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

The fire bowl is nearly ready to be put in but first its the best bit for him. its the planting.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

Dicksonia Antarctica Tasmanian Tree ferns are being used to create a canopy of ferns and will remain evergreen.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

For colour he has Agapanthus 'Snowy Owl' African Lily and Canna 'Black Knight' Canna Lily for the jungle look.

He is moving a Tetrapanax that never found the right spot in the garden and it will be happy there.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

He also has bamboo and Bananas.

Garden Makeover Reveal
Diarmuid is off to surprise Mary to see her completed front garden, she is expecting just a video call.

Marys garden makeover

Mary says she had a lot of help from her family and is just finishing up and its so much better.

Marys garden makeover

She was expecting Roses for the door sorted out by Diarmuid  but instead has had to put a pot of herbs as they have not turned up!

Marys garden makeover

Little does she know but Diarmuid is bringing them himself!

A shocked Mary is surprised by Diarmuid and the roses.

Marys garden makeover

Diarmuid says it looks fantastic and an arch is all ready up for the roses.

Its a riot of colour which you can get away with in a cottage garden planting scheme.

Marys garden makeover

Along the decorative fence is Trachelospermum Jasminoides or commonly know as Star jasmine which from May it will smell amazing.

The borders are full with plants including Nasturtiums to fill in the gaps.

Marys garden makeover

They have made a good job and the soil is well prepared and as it fills out will become less work.

They will use this space a lot more now and will enjoy sitting out looking at the view.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Diarmuid lights his fire bowl and has a few finishing touches to make.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

In the gaps in the retaining wall he wants to plant Sempervivum House Leeks which will enjoy the warmth.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

They do not need much soil and he presses it into the gap and will make sure it doesn't dry out.

The retreat at the end of the garden is finished and it is marshmallow time

Diarmuid Gavin garden

The show ends with them roasting marshmallows by the light of the fire bowl.

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