Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 2

Diarmuid Gavin starts episode 2 of Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin by telling us that most of us this year have needed our garden more than ever.

Diarmuid is inviting us to his home in Bray Co Wicklow to 'Garden Together'.

The LP is playing something Jazzy, the coffee is brewing and we are ready to join Diarmuid in his stunning garden with its double storey verandah around his home.

The most creative part of gardening is sowing seeds and he describes it as 'magical' how they grow. 

Diarmuid has a wooden crate filled with compost and he is sowing a wild seed mix and it is going to be for his mum who is living in a the city, in a flat with just a balcony.

Diarmuid Gavin

To sow wild flowers in the ground you would lightly rake the seeds in but he is using a plastic plant pot as a kind of compost sieve to cover the seeds.

He then waters them in, very well, he almost floods the crate, to 'activate the seeds'.

Diarmuid Gavin

He shows us a tray that he had sown just 6 weeks before and it is already full of colour. 

Cornflowers and Cosmos and it has already been attracting the bees.

In just 6 weeks his mum's crate will be the same.

Garden Makeover
The Montgomery Family live in Banbridge Co Down, they live on top of a hill making it an exposed site to grow the cut flowers Gladys would like to grow for flower arranging.

Montgomery House

Montgomery garden

They have been delaying sorting the garden out and Son David says his mum really wants the garden sorted and getting professional help in is what they need.

Gladys says how great it will be to grow everything she needs for her hobby in the garden.

Last year she did all the flowers for her Daughters wedding not really knowing what a huge task it would be but she found she loved it .

Montgomery family

Ian just likes pottering around the garden and finds it very relaxing and great being so close to nature.

Diarmuid gives them a video call to discuss the garden and to have a look at it.

Montgomery garden

David shows him the space that needs redesigning.

Gladys already has quite clear ideas what she would like the garden to look like.

She wants a strong structural elements like a modern archway with 2 kidney shaped flower beds.

Montgomery family

Diarmuid says he going to ask her to design a garden for him! 

As Gladys already has a idea what she wants, Diarmuid will have to have a good design to please them all.

Diarmuid Gavin Garden

Question Time
Kevin from the Cooley Mountains Co Louth grows Vines. He usually grows them in his greenhouse but last year he put 2 outside.

As they are thirsty plants this gives them good access to water but they are not doing as well as the one still in the greenhouse.


Diarmuid says not to worry they are just in shock from being moved outside and will recover and be fine next year but they will need some TLC, plenty of water and feeding.

Diarmuid Gavin

Next question from someone who inherited a large country garden which is mostly lawn and they want to encourage wildlife but do not have much time.

Diarmuid calls on advice from his Botanist friend Phoebe O'Brien from Co Clare who shows us round her wonderful garden.

Phoebe O'Brien

Leave the grass to grow and it will become a meadow, a lot more people are getting interested in wild meadows.

They want pollinators to return to Ireland by helping to provide this invaluable food source.

Phoebe O'Brien garden

She shows us a grass called Yorkshire Fog Holcus Lanatus which is a soft grass with a purple tinge which grows if you leave the lawn uncut.

For wildlife you can get a bird table, bat boxes and bee hotels which will all support the wildlife.

Phoebe O'Brien garden

A meadow can be a complex thing and will need monitoring to see what flowers grow but the insects do like the long grass.

'let it go and let it grow' says Diarmuid.

Liz Cullen from Armagh is having a long awaited fence put up but she wants to soften the harsh fence as soon as the builder has finished!

Diarmuid Gavin and Liz Cullen

Diarmuid suggests painting it a dark green or he suggests plants especially a Rose called Rosa 'American Pillar' which has a mass of pink flowers clambering all over the fence.

Rosa 'American Pillar'

He says when planting put some farmyard manure in the hole first and that will keep it happy.

Darragh Stone is Head Gardener at Blarney Castle and Gardens and Diarmuid says his friend is the man to go to, to talk about pots and containers.

Darragh Stone

The estate is 18 acres and has mature woods as well as magnolias, meadows and herbaceous borders.

Although he has always worked on large estates in his own garden he likes to use pots.

They are easy to move around and change but do need a bit more looking after.

Darragh Stone

In one pot he has a whole year worth of plants, starting with Spring bulbs to Begonias for late colour, then a Brunnera followed by Erysimum and Schefflera Macrophylla.

It is a lot more work and the plants are limited in nutrients and can be underwatered as they do not benefit much from the rain due to the pot size.

You can tell if the pot is well watered by the weight, the heavier it is the more moisture in the soil.

Good soil, drainage, pruning and dead heading are all vital for a good show in your pots.

Woodland Perennials

Woodland Perennials

Woodland Perennials

Woodland Perennials are good in a pot as used to being dry so plants like Bergenias, Podophyllum or Persicaria.

Its all about using the plants in pots together for a display, so if you need to raise the height for more interest, just stand it on an upturned pot.

Darragh says he becomes more attached to his pots in his own garden as you can get closer to them and amongst them if on a balcony.

Garden Project Pot Competition 
Diarmuid is inspired and decides to have a competition with co-worker Paul as to who can plant up the best pot.


They head to a Garden Centre to choose there plants.

Diarmuid is going for a pot filled with instant summer colour, the biggest and brightest plants he can find.

summer colour

He dives straight in with a Dahlia.

Paul is going for shade loving plants and cool relaxed colours.


Hydrangea 'Pinkachu' Carex Everest and trailing Ivy.  'Thriller, Filler and Spiller'.

Diarmuid says you have to go 'BIG' for pots he want 'VA VA VROOM'. 

After a tough year Diarmuid says Dahlias will cheer us up from mid Summer in beds borders or pots.

Geraniums will survive it being a bit dry and are a fantastic splash of colour.

Diarmuids house

Back in Diarmuid's garden they fill large terracotta pots with crocks at the bottom then compost and start arranging the plants to be potted. 

Diarmuid makes a start on his pot then goes to start drawing up plans for the Montgomery family garden.

Garden Makeover Design
Diarmuid has started sketching out his design concept for the garden and has their design for the exposed hill top garden.

He is not sure how open they will be to his design as they already have strong ideas and wonders if they even need him.

Montgomerys plan

The Montgomery plans are for 2 lawns with a path running through them and an arch separating the 2 lawns.

The plants Gladys wants to grow for her flower arranging need some protection so Diarmuid plan is to add that to the design.

Diarmuids plan

He plans to add turf mounds or torque around the space, rising up out of the ground to reflect the hills and provide some shelter.

Diarmuid shares his plans with them and a week later work is well under way at the Montgomery garden.

They are not too sure about the mounds though so Diarmuid gives Gladys and David a video call.

Diarmuid pleased with how the paving and circles of lawn have soften the area, looks very gentle.

work in progress

James the Project manager has told Diarmuid they do not want to use turf on the mounds so he asks David to show him the mounds.

James the Project manager

He tells them that nothing other than the turf will grow well on the mounds, to replace it with low growing plants would take so many and there would be lots of weeds.

Diarmuids plan

Diarmuid reassures them that turf is the best and only thing for the mounds to work and calls on James help to persuade the family that it need to be turf.

Garden Project Pot Competition the Results
Diarmuid returns and comments that Paul pot is '1970s ground cover' where as his is Psychedelic.

Diarmuid has Salvia 'Kisses and Wishes', Verbena, Dahlias and draping over the sides Osteospermum 'Purple Sun' or African Daisy.


He says his pot will brighten your mood even on dull days.

Paul Shady courtyard pot has for foliage Polystichum Setiferum or Soft Shield Fern. 



For his 'filler' he has Impatiens 'Infinity White'. His 'thriller' Hydrangea Paniculata 'Pinkachu'. His 'spiller' Hedera Helix 'Yellow Ripple' or variegated Ivy.

Diarmuid says his summer colour one has good compost, will be kept well watered, fed every 5 days and will explode with colour.

In the Autumn he would remove the plants to the borders or greenhouse and replant with Spring bulbs.

Diarmuid and Paul pot

I think they both look stunning!

Diarmuid is in the city with his wheelbarrow full of pots and plants to surprise his Mother at her flat to brighten her dull balcony.

Diarmuid Gavin

He manages to get his wheelbarrow in the lift to the top floor without spilling his compost everywhere.

Lots of people will have either a small space, a balcony, a yard, a roof terrace, light tunnel or just a small garden and using pots is the ideal way to fill it.

Balcony garden

His Mother balcony is just 3 metres by 2 metres and she has moved into a city flat after having quite a big space before.

First he adds 2 wonderful painted wooden chairs like the ones he has at home.



He has a planter which is planted up with flowers from mid to late Summer interest, Salvia Nemorosa 'Ostfriesland', Lavender, Cosmos, Tropaeolum Majus Nasturtium and a red Dahlia. 

He continues to add more pots and surrounds the seats with colour and scent.

Balcony garden

She loves it, 'stunning' what a wonderful place it is now to sit and enjoy. Diarmuid looks chuffed.

Balcony garden

Diarmuid points out the crate he did earlier with the wild flower seeds which in 6 weeks will be wonderful. 'Beautiful' his Mother says.

Diarmuid Gavin and Mother

The pots will need watering every couple of days and feeding once a week.

Garden Makeover Reveal
Diarmuid is off to the Montgomery's garden in Banbridge Co Down to see the finished garden, have they gone for the turf mounds?

Ian says the mounds were very hard work to get them all looking the same shape and the soil was difficult to shape.

Diarmuid arrives carrying comfy wooden chairs to finish off  the garden.

Montgomery family and Diarmuid

He does the 'Covid handshake' as the family greet him at the front door.

Diarmuid is very pleased with what they have done 'its very effective' and shows them the chairs.

Montgomery garden

The planting is all planted densely and all good plants for flower arranging.

Montgomery garden

They go through the modern archway which also frames the view.

Montgomery garden

the gentle curves draw you into the garden  and they all love the garden with the turf mounds.




Gladys loves the Salvia Nemorosa 'Ostfriesland',  Epimedium X Versicolor 'Sulphureum' and Crocosmia 'George Davison' or Montbretia.

Montgomery garden

Ian says he thinks it will all be easy to look after except the mounds. Diarmuid says they are not that difficult as it will grow at a slower rate and you can use shears on it.

Montgomery Family

As the family try out there very wet new seats and sit and admire the view from their new garden.

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