Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 3

Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 3

Diarmuid Gavin starts episode 3 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.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Diarmuid is clearing his old fruit and vegetable plot as it has not worked out.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

There is an old cherry tree but the hedges and beds have got very overgrown and the shade from the hedges effected the vegetables.

So Diarmuid has decided that he will get some Chickens as he always wanted some and the area will be perfect for them.

He is difficult to buy for so when he said he wanted Chickens they got him some eggs and a roast one!

Diarmuid is going to have the last laugh he says.

Question Time
Ciara Platt from Co Antrim moved to a new house which they have finished doing up internally and now wants to sort out the garden.

Ciara Platt and Diarmuid gavin

They have just added a fence to the front of the property and want advice on what trees and hedges they can plant.

There is also a small bed outside the house she would like a small tree and shrubs for there too.
Ciara Platt garden

Ciara Platt garden

Diarmuid asks how exposed and windy it is, Ciara says it is.

He recommends a Beech Fagus Sylvatica hedge although its not evergreen the foliage stays on it throughout the year.


Ciara like ornamental Maples but Diarmuid has one that is doing alright in his sheltered spot but her garden is too exposed for maples.

Young's Weeping Birch


He doesn't recommend a Weeping Willow as they are very thirsty trees but maybe a Young's Weeping Birch that can be underplanted with Geranium 'Ann Folkard' and a Pittosporum Tobira 'Nanum'.

'Woo hoo' says Diarmuid, Ciara does not seem so keen to join in the 'woo hoo' dance but soon they are 'woo hooing' together as well as gardening.

Diarmuid Gavin

Ann-Marie O'Donnell after moving into an old house last year she noticed lots of mosses and Lichen and wonders if it harms the trees?

Colm O'Driscoll is the Head Gardener at the Airfield Estate Dublin and Diarmuid asks him this question.

Colm O'Driscoll

Moss and Lichens don't cause the tree any harm but they can also indicate of plant vigour and that a mulch may help with moisture levels but equally it may be environmental factors.


He likes the look of the Moss and Lichen and the Japanese art of Kokedama which is a ball of moss with plants growing out of it and may look nice on the branches of her trees and also add some interest in Winter.

Garden Makeover
Diarmuid loves designing family gardens for multiple age groups.

Hanway Wills Family

The Hanway Wills Family from Howth Co Dublin have just completed a large extension on their home.

The family have 4 children.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Out the back of the house is a patio area then a step up to a sunny triangular patchy lawn with a rabbit hutch and not much else.

There are block and pebble dash walls to one side and a broken slide, the concrete area the rabbit hutch is going.

The other boundary has bamboo growing over it.

Hanway Wills Family garden

To the side of the house is more block wall that is being rendered and this leads to a raised area off the kitchen that has cedar cladding to the side of it.

Hanway Wills Family garden

This area is about chest height and they were thinking it would make a good herb garden.

Steve and Suzanne tells us that the whole build has been delayed by the lockdown and they are still without heating and a kitchen in the extension.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Now the build is getting finished they now need to turn their attention to the garden.

The space is awkward with lots of angles and varying heights but its also disconnected.

The raised area outside the kitchen is just left over dirt from the digging and leads to a narrow alleyway to the back and it all needs bringing together.

Diarmuid Gavin

They want a family space that can be used by them all, not manicured lawns but a safe family space to relax and play in.

They admit they need help and who better than Diarmuid to design your garden!

Diarmuid wants the children to line up and in one sentence, tell him what they want from the garden.

Hanway Wills Family

Aibhe is first she would like a bar to swing on and a Willow if it would fit in. Diarmuid says a Willow Tree? 

Odhran he would like a Herb Garden and a big Trampoline.

Sadhbh the youngest girl would like some flowers. Diarmuid says great for the bees and butterflies.

Fionn he would like some trees and Strawberry plants.

Diarmuid says this will take some thought. They need to invest in some good soil, nice pots, a trampoline and lots of time!

Ok they say but do they know how much work they have to do to turn it from building site to family garden!

Diarmuid says lots of us inspire to live the good life but in the centre of Cork City, Brian McCarthy during lockdown has created Cork Rooftop Farm.

Cork Rooftop Farm.

He was worried during lockdown about having a constant supply of food, Brian who runs Central Floral Supplies which had to close during lockdown.

His fathers building Cork Floral Supplies had a huge empty roof space and he decided to use this to start growing his own produce.

Brian McCarthy

He initially started with the idea for a few vegetables and flowers in a courtyard next to his apartment but it just grew and grew to this vast space.

Co-founder Thayane Carlos was amazed when she first saw the roof top space.

Thayane Carlos

In just 3 months it has been transformed with a huge central polytunnel and raised planting beds.

Starting off as just a project to grow their own has now become a business and its all grown from seed in the polytunnel.

They have grown 25 different vanities of Tomatoes, 10 of Chilies, potatoes, beetroot, lettuce. chives, onions, leeks and squashes i am sure plenty more!

Cork Rooftop Farm.

They are eating well and they also have chickens on the roof.

Getting supplies to the roof has been hard work and they have carried 40+ bags of compost up to the roof but it also has its benefits as they are slug and snail free!

His tips are to start with really good soil and this shows in the produce. 

Cork Rooftop Farm.

Also if you are short of space to add some vertical growing, use trellis or wall space for runner beans, peas and Aubergines amongst others.

From a blank barren rooftop that was empty for 60+ years they have now a vibrant, productive growing space that can only get better and better.

Diarmuid is cutting up some nettles he lets grow in the garden as they are used by caterpillars to feed on before becoming Butterflies.


He has a bucket with a lid which is very important that it has a tightly fitting lid.

He adds the chopped nettles to the bucket and fills with rain water until it is a few inches from the top.

The lid is put on and it is left in a sunny spot for a few weeks to ferment.

Every few days give it a stir but be prepared this stinks!

In a couple weeks this will be ready to strain through some old tights or something and the liquid retained.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid has the finished feed and tentatively opens the vile smelling brew.

This needs diluting 1 part to 10 parts of water for all your plants and shrubs. Veg love it too.

nettles soup

Diarmuid face tells it all, it really is the worse smelling stuff. 

You can also make it using the plant Comfrey in the same way.

Garden Makeover Design
The extension and house has some lovely design ideas internally but the outside has been left with areas that are not connected and just need some techniques to blend the old garden in with the new building.

Garden makeover plan

Diarmuid has his plan for all 3 areas done.

Project Manager James Kinsella is on hand again to help.

He starts by telling them the trampoline is going to be pushed right back into the triangular lawn area which will have new turf.

Hanway Wills Family

They all set to work digging the hole for the trampoline, painting the block walls.

To disguise the mismatch of walls a metal grid trellis will be attached to them all and climbing plants will cover the trellis making a vertical garden.

Diarmuid video calls them to check on the progress.

Diarmuid Gavin

They have had a few bad weather days but the herb garden area has had sleepers added and the hole filled in and dug over.

As this area is going to have fruit trees as well as herbs Diarmuid wants an informal gravel pathway to run through it.

Hanway Wills Family garden

He leaves them in the capable hands of James to finish off his design.

Diarmuid points out how important water is to us gardeners and the garden.

With the changing weather patterns we can get week or months with no rain and even hosepipe bans so its important to store as much rainwater as possible.

Diarmuid gavin water butt

It is a good idea to have a water butt connected to the drainpipe from your roof and they come in all sorts of materials, shapes and sizes.

Diarmuid has an old oak water tight barrel but any watertight container will do.

Diarmuid gavin water butt

Rainwater is chemical free and when a hosepipe ban is on the water is so important for the garden during these dry spells.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
His chicken coop is arriving soon and 20 years ago he talked chickens with Darina Allen now her daughter-in-law Celebrity Chef Rachel Allen who has 350 of them is going to advise him.

Rachel Allen

Rachel at the Ballymaloe Cookery School  came there 30 years ago for a course,  little did she know that one day, she would be surrounded by her own chickens too.

Her favourite part is the Herb Garden that is surrounded by a large very old Beech Hedge.

She decides to pick some herbs for a treat for the hens, chickens are very clever and they know what herbs can help them.

Rachel Allen herb garden

She picks some Bay leaves, lemon balm and some people say you can taste the herbs in the eggs, she doesn't think you can.

Off to the huge chicken run and the chickens run in all directions as she offers them the herbs. Maybe later!

Rachel Allen chicken

In to the hen house to look for the eggs.

For someone starting to keep Chickens for the first time, 3-4 hens is enough for an average size family. 

The hens should be between 6 months and 3 years old and are much easier to look after than you think.

Rachel Allen egg

The best bit is collecting the lovely fresh eggs and Rachel is sending Diarmuid some eggs and wishes him lots of fun with his own hens.

Question Time

Maureen asks can she take a 'slip' of a rose (softwood cutting). Diarmuid says you can but October or November when it is dormant is better for cuttings.

Diarmuid Gavin

Trish from Waterford has droopy plants. Diarmuid said after a wet spring it just wilted and needs some watering and your plant will perk up.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
The Chickens have arrived and after a 20 year wait Diarmuid is excited but quietly enters his new chicken run.

What a fantastic chicken house and run it is!

Diarmuid Gavin chickens

They have put a secure fence and gate with strong wire to keep the foxes out and the chickens will be in the house at night.

There is a planted raised bed with some supposedly chicken proof ornamentals like Echinacea, Hosta and Day lily.

He has bought a wonderful chicken house and has spread bark chippings for them to peck at.

Diarmuid Gavin chickens

There is a Cherry tree and they will have the fruit when it drops.

They were rescue birds from a factory farm and he has called them Arlene, Mary-Lou and Michelle.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid checks the nesting box and.... he has an egg.

Garden Makeover Reveal
The Hanway Wills have taken just 4 weeks to finish this garden makeover.

'Tricky, busy and fun' was how Suzanne described it.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Family and friends all helped to get it completed in time for this grand reveal.

Hanway Wills Family garden

The sunken trampoline was a lot of digging but looks great.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid turns up with an apple tree to see the end result.

The front has had a makeover too with new railway sleeper beds full of planting.

As Diarmuid comes round the back he sees the new Herb Garden and fruit trees.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Past the metal trellised walkway to the back garden.

The whole family are happily bouncing away on the sunken trampoline.

'Haven't you done a great job' declares Diarmuid as he hands over the apple tree gift.

Diarmuid Gavin garden makeover

Diarmuid very pleased with the fantastic job they have done and he loves the way the metal trellis has tied the garden together.

The underplanting of the bamboo and all the different climbers.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Sometimes climbers take a couple years to get going but when they do there will be an explosion of colour.

The family are so pleased with it and the addition of fruit trees.

They feel it will be low maintenance and manageable.

Hanway Wills Family garden

Diarmuid has a look at the Herb garden and its inclusion of a multi stemmed Silver Birch who canopy will float above.

It has Jasmine to climb and add to the fragrance of the mint, chive Marjoram tumbling over the wall.

Hanway Wills Family garden

The currant bushes and herbs will quickly spread to cover all the soil.

Suzanne said how hard it was as they had to move out of the house and to have both the house and garden done to come back to is very emotional.

Hanway Wills Family garden

They plan to use the garden a lot more for sitting out in and already planning where the Barbeque is going.

Diarmuid ends by saying what an amazing job they have done and now every thing in place the family just now have the job of enjoying the garden.

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  1. Where did Diarmuid source the chicken coop?

  2. Good afternoon
    I hope you are enjoying the blog.
    I have done a bit of research and i think i have found the supplier Green Hen Works from Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, and they deliver to anywhere in Ireland.
    The model is Green Acre Hen House and i will try to include the link
    I hope this is of help and good luck with the chickens!
    Best wishes
    Pete Free