Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 4

Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 4

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

In episode 4 of Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Diarmuid starts by saying that most of us this year have needed our garden more than ever.

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 Gavin garden

Weeding is a job no one except Diarmuid likes, he loves clearing the soil ready for new plants and to protect them from the weeds.

A weed is just a plant in the wrong place. As with plants there are the 2 types Annual and Perennial.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid is digging up a perennial weed, a Dandelion, which has a very long tap root and you need to get that all out to stop it re growing.

You should not add weeds to the compost heap.

Other weeds that need the whole root removing are Bindweed and Couch grass.

On loose soil in a border, a hoe makes an excellent tool for weeding as they chop off any heads of new seedlings and can get between the plants easily.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

If you get to weeds before they flower or set seeds, the saying goes, you save yourself 7 years of weeds!

There are chemicals and weedkiller but Diarmuid like to keep it as Organic as possible in his garden.

Diarmuid Gavin

Question Time
Debbie from Liscannor, Co Clare who has a rural but coastal garden including a large hedge of Fuchsias and Montbretia, that is growing wild.


Sea Holly

She needs plants that will cope with the wind and salt so things like Phormium New Zealand Flax and Eryngium X Zabelii 'Big Blue' Sea Holly.

Tina Bermingham fro Co Cork has a posh driveway that Diarmuid calls 'Buckingham Palace'.

She says its not sheltered, so Diarmuid suggests groups of trees with bare stems but with, cloud like tops.

Mike and Tina Bermingham

Debbie husband Mike is hiding off shot blurts out 'she wants to hide the house'.

Mike appears on camera and says they don't want people seeing the front door and him eating his dinner, from the driveway.

After suggesting moving Diarmuid says a mini forest of small trees like multi stemmed Birch Betula Pendula Silver Birch.

Silver Birch

Plant bare rooted in the middle of winter and this will give them a mini forest to drive through.

And its spuds for dinner today in case yo can't see Mike's plate!

Garden Makeover
Diarmuid gets comfortable in a lovely spot in the garden and video calls Nichola McGregor in Co  Antrim who lives in a new build house.

Diarmuid GavinNichola McGregor

She has a typical new build garden which is a square of grass surrounded by a wooden fence.

Nichola moved in to the house with her partner Arnie Clarke who sadly died in February following a tragic accident.

Nichola McGregor garden

The garden was to be the Spring project after getting the house how they wanted it together.

She wants to bring Arnie into the garden too and she describes him as 'fun loving, outgoing and her other half' she misses him so much.

Nichola McGregor and Arnie

Arnie had lived in a Hamlet in France for 2 years in a barn with roses round the house so he was planning to bring the French countryside into the garden.

Nichola has some poorly looking roses plants that have come from France especially to go in the garden.

Diarmuid checks there is drainage for them and they are not drowning in water but i think he knows they need to be in asap to survive the move.

So he needs to design a romantic french garden in Antrim that Arnie would have loved and that Nichola is surrounded by her memories of him in.

Garden Makeover Design
Diarmuid is designing a French inspired garden filled with joy, memories, symbols and of love for Nichola in memory of her late partner Arnie.

Diarmuid Gavin

The scheme has a circular theme with lush planting surrounding a circular lawn. 

Two circular rustic stone seating areas and an archway complete the design.

Nichola McGregor garden plan

Diarmuid has to get it right and bring the rustic french look to Nicholas garden.

The planting will be blousey Mediterranean planting.

Exotic Garden
Conrad McCormick enjoys growing exotic plants in his garden in North Antrim.

Conrad McCormick

He like to grow different plants to everyone else and an exotic garden can be grown anywhere using hardy plants instead of tender ones.


Tree ferns and native ferns can give that exotic look when mixed in with large leaf foliage.

You can then add splashes of colour by using plants like Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' Peruvian Lily and long flowering Salvia Microphylla 'Cerro Potosi'.

Peruvian LilySalvia

In the summer you can then plant out tender or even house plants Begonia Luxurians Palm Leaf Begonia and succulents.

Conrad recommends 3 plants to use in an exotic garden: Schefflera Taiwaniana with its umbrella leaves which is hardy to minus 9. 

exotic garden

Senocio Candicans 'Angel Wings' and Canna 'General Eisenhower' for their foliage and late flowers.

Don't be scared to use Exotics in the garden if you get the conditions right and choose the right plants they will grow well in the climate.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
In Diarmuid's garden he has 3 ponds, inspired by ones he saw at Chelsea but unfortunately he made some simple mistakes by not putting in any movement of the water or pond plants.

So his project this week is overhaul the ponds and the planting surrounding them.


If you want a water feature or pond you need a plan as to what you want to get from it.

Safety is an important factor if children are to have access (and animals) so may not be suitable.

Ponds can be brilliant for wildlife but need shelves in them and then surrounding them with plants that are marginal so they needs their roots in water.

Diarmuid pond

Plants that are important to have for the pond are oxygenators that go in the water, secondly there are plants that float on the water to shade it from the sun.

Diarmuid's plan is to have water jets shooting between the ponds.

Garden Makeover update
Diarmuid gives Nichola a video call to see how her and Project Manager, James Kinsella are getting on.

Nichola McGregor

Nichola loved the plans and she was very emotional as she knew Arnie would have loved them. Then came the reality of all the complicated work to do!

So she has called in some help as well as James.

Diarmuid checks up on progress and the Roses that came from France.

Nichola McGregor garden

James and Nichola are both looking happy with how it is going and so far its been a major transformation with the footings now going in.

Diarmuid asks about the Roses and they are ok?

He tells them to get the Camera People working too whilst they are there!

Nichola McGregor James Kinsella

The fence needs painting a dark Blue or Slate, Nichola sounds a bit doubtful.

James decides to hang up before Diarmuid adds more work!

Question Time
How much water do i give my plants is a common question?

So he passes this to Plant Scientist, Cara Daly from Co Wexford to answer.

Cara Daly

People struggle with watering too much and also not enough, under watering is less of a problem than over watering.

A plant needs to take in Oxygen so if you over water the root cells drown so the soil needs a nice open structure.

Cara Daly garden

'Plant Scientist say that when a plant is slightly stressed they do better'.

Cara loves the diversity of plants and when looked at through a microscope you can see all the differences just using a thin sample.

Verbena Bonariensis

She is looking at Verbena Bonariensis and can see all the cells,' it is beautiful like a art work'.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
The ponds are coming on very well and they have local stone around the edges and are now ready for the plants.


Planting a pond is quite different than a flower bed where everything goes directly into the soil.

The plants are in pots with compost and topped with pebbles.


The first plant in is an oxygenator that goes straight into the water Ceratophyllum Demersum Hornwort.

The second plant in is a waterlily Nymphaea 'Gladstonia' and Diarmuid carefully sinks the pot to the bottom but in a few days the leaves will be on the pond surface.


They will have lovely flowers and the leaves will cover half the surface.

The third plant is a marginal structural plant called Cyperus Alternifolius Umbrella Grass.

Umbrella Grass

He adds more plants about 6 - 7 in total to make a good wildlife habitat.

Question Time
Fiona Rowley is a novice garden and wants to add bulbs and plants to a new bed, next to a pebble patio. She likes ornamental grasses.

Helen Dillon

Diarmuid is passing this over to Helen Dillon who suggest 3 really good plants that are a must have.

Hydrangea Paniculata 'Pinky Winky', Clematis x Durandii and Dahlia 'Carolina Moon'.

Diarmuid's Garden Project - the water reveal
The moment of truth will the water jet idea actually work?

Diarmuid Gavin

He has the jets in some leftover pots and he is hoping the water will 'hop' between them.

Turn on the water, James has the jets and is pointing one straight at a surprised Diarmuid who tries to get out of the way!


Finally they are all lined up and the sound of the splashing water as the jet hits the pond is quite loud.

Maybe too much Diarmuid thinks but he will see how he gets on with them but he does like the cubes of Kilkenny Limestone that surrounds the pond now.

Diarmuid Gavin

He is also pleased with the pond planting and the planting surrounding the pond.

Garden Makeover Reveal
Diarmuid in on his way to Nichola garden in Co Antrim to see if the special garden he has designed to remember her late Partner Arnie is finished. 

He is taking a huge potted Geranium as a present.

Nichola McGregor garden

The garden is complete and it looks stunning.

Nichola describes it as 'an emotional rollercoaster'  but its 'magical' now its complete.

'Amazing' declares Diarmuid 'this is amazing' 'it's incredible' I think Diarmuid likes it!

Nichola McGregor garden

She tells him how she managed the transformation with the help of lots of family and friends and she loves it.

The cobbles, the lawn and the fantastic arch Diarmuid loves them all.

Nichola says how hard it is that Arnie not here, to see his garden, as he would have loved it.

The Roses are alive and doing well at the back of the border.

Nichola McGregor garden

Diarmuid has got some nicely rusted wrought iron furniture from his garden to set off the cobbled seating area perfectly.

Ivy Geranium

The planting is very Mediterranean and Diarmuid hands over the large Pelargonium Peitatum Ivy Geranium and will look lovely against the houses, white walls, all Summer.

Nichola has some Lavandula Stoechas French Lavender and Senecio Candicans 'Angel Wings' planted in terracotta pots in a wonderful stand.

French Lavender and Senecio Candicans 'Angel Wings'

In the beds there are Agapanthus 'Black Magic' African Lily, Hydrangea Paniculata 'Wim's Red' and Molinia Caerulea 'Heidebraut' Purple Moor Grass.

With the trees behind being part of the borrowed landscape of the garden it all looks stunning.

Nichola McGregor garden

Diarmuid wishes Nichola many happy memories in the garden of Arnie as well as new ones in her new French inspired garden.

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