Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 5

Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin Episode 5

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

In episode 5 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.

A good and free way to get new plants for the garden is to take cuttings.

Salvia 'Amistad'

Diarmuid is taking his from Salvia 'Amistad'  and cuttings can be taken at several stages through the year but as the plant is growing vigorously now is a good time.

Diarmuid cuts it down to a pencil size cutting and takes off the lower leaves and then chops the top leaves in half.

Diarmuid Gavin

In about 6 weeks the cuttings will have some nice roots and be ready to pot on.

To start with he is placing several round the edges on the one pot and gives them a good water and puts them on a sunny windowsill.

Question Time
Freda in Co Armagh wants advice on growing Lavender, how to grow it in a container and where to site the container?

Diarmuid Gavin

Lavender comes from the Mediterranean, sunny and dry and grows in poor soil. 


The pot should have good drainage holes and use a soil based compost, it will not need feeding and put it in a sunny spot and it will thrive.

Michelle wants advice on hardy Ferns to go in large pots so Diarmuid is asking Darragh Stone.

Darragh Stone.

Darragh says you 'have to work your own magic into the garden'.

Ferns are great for pots. 

For a big showy display a Dicksonia Antartctica Tasmanian Tree Fern which need protecting over Winter.

Dicksonia Antartctica Tasmanian Tree Fern

Blechnum Chilense Chilean Hard Fern is a great Fern for a pot and looks good in a large pot.

Having different areas in the garden you can use different styles and plants and make it your own style.

Blechnum Chilense Chilean Hard Fern

It great to have a woodland and river and a quiet place in the large estate where he works.

'A Gardener can try their hardest but nature will always do it better'.

Fiona McGreevy in Co Antrim has a Motorway at the end of her garden and wants advice as to the best plants or trees to screen it.

Diarmuid Gavin and Fiona McGreevy

Diarmuid says plants like Prunus Laurocerasus Cherry Laurel an evergreen as long as they are kept trimmed or they grow too wide.

Eucalyptus Gunnii 'France Bleu' this can be cut back every few years and the young shoots will look good.

Garden Makeover
This week it is in Co Kerry at the home of Shane Auliffe who has a large garden with lots of land.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid video calls him from his fabulous swing seat  to discuss what he wants for his already well established garden.

Shane Auliffe garden

Shane Auliffe garden

The house was purchased by his father and restored in the mid 90's and it was originally built in 1840 and he would like something formal in the garden that fits with the house.

In the courtyard is a Famine pot that he bought some time ago and would like to use it in the garden.

It is made of cast Iron so it is very heavy and Famine pots were brought to Ireland during the Great Famine by Quakers to cook soup in to feed the poor.

Famine pot

He is really looking forward to having it in the garden in its final resting place as its too heavy to keep moving it and it will make a lovely feature.

Shane is a pig and cattle farmer so his interest in gardening started with wildlife gardening and pollinators and protecting and encouraging native bees.

On the farm they plant native hedges and plants but we also need to do our bit in the garden too.

Shane Auliffe

Diarmuid asks to see the garden and Shane shows him the large lawn and tells him its too much and needs splitting with a feature in the middle.

Diarmuid says so 'its planting and design and something that pays homage to the house' also something that fits the location and good for the bees and butterflies. 

Diarmuid calls on Neil Porteous Head Gardener, who has been an advisor to large estates for a long time.

Neil Porteous

Neil is in the Italian Garden at Mount Stewart Co Down, it has a lovely formal garden at the front of the house.

This garden was the dream of Edith Lady Londonderry during World War 1.

A formal garden needs a boundary, an edge and can be made up of anything a wall, fence, hedge or pergola.

mount stewart

Everything needs to be in order and the garden has geometry to it, it is perfectly symmetrical.

Neil favourite plant in the garden is Canta Buxifolia Peruvian Magic Tree and its one Edith grew herself in the 1920's in the garden.

Peruvian Magic Tree

What makes the Italian garden is the architectural details the pillars with Dodos and the ponds with their fountains.

'you have to feel at home in the garden' its somewhere to contemplate, a great place for artists and poets.

Diarmuid Gavin design

Diarmuid is drawing out the plans for shane's garden and he already has a lovely garden, great location and willing helpers.

Diarmuid design is not going to be small both in size and budget.


Diarmuid is going round the garden, deadheading plants like the Roses who will benefit from taking them off so that new flowers will grow.

Deadheading roses

It can be an obsessions and some plants like Sweet Peas you can just nip them off and you do not need secateurs so can do it whilst wandering in the garden.

Repeat flowering plants need deadheading as soon as flowers have gone over to ensure a constant supply of blooms.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Over the years the house and garden has seen many adaptations and changes but this has left Diarmuid with a mixture of exterior surfaces, brick, crittall windows, PVC doors and render.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

He has come up with an idea to marry it all together by cladding some of the walls with wood.

Diarmuid tends to recycle things in the garden, the swing seats are from a Chelsea Flower Show Garden, the spiral staircase from a salvage yard.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

Imagination is not only needed for the design but also for the budget.

The cladding will be under the cover of the verandah and Diarmuid can paint them, he is looking very pleased with his idea.

Garden Makeover Design
Diarmuid is now ready to show Shane, the design, for his garden and Famine Pot.

Diarmuid Gavin design

Diarmuid video calls Shane and he reveals his design to him and the dogs!  

He plans to enclose the area behind the hedge and put in lots of planting for the pollinators, with meadow grass in part of the lawn.

Gates at the end of the lawn lead to an open courtyard with the Famine Pot, pride of place.

'Overwhelming' in a good way says Shane.

Diarmuid would normally  give the challenge a time scale of 4-5 months but gives Shane 4 weeks to complete the transformation.

Shane garden

Luckily Shane is a doer, goer and gardener according to Diarmuid so he up for the challenge.

As usual project Manager James Kinsella is on hand to help with the design and first job is to measure up and mark out.

It is essential that the view is right to be able to see all the way down the garden to the Famine Pot.

This is the biggest and most ambitious garden of the series so they need to get it right from the start.

James tells Shane the first job is the footpath and the rest will follow on.

'Who grows potatoes anymore'? asks Diarmuid.

He says we all should as they are easy to grow and give a lot of satisfaction.

They grow anywhere as long as they have sunshine.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid is using a bucket and fills it to a third full with good quality compost.

He got some seed potatoes that are sprouting which are first earlies and he is planting them mid Summer.

These will be ready for Christmas Dinner and he puts 2 in the bucket and covers them over with compost and as usual gives them a drenching of water.


As they start to grow through in just a week, he will keep topping the bucket up with compost to keep them covered.

Diarmuid has a pot of potatoes that were planted about 10 weeks ago and they are huge.

Fresh spuds for Christmas Lunch!

House Plants
There has been a rise in the popularity of house plants but did you know once the weather is warm enough they can come outdoors.

House Plants

The sun will be too strong for them at first so they will need to be in a shaded area from about mid June.

They will need more water regularly and if possible rain water.

Its like the plants are on holiday!

Defined as the art of clipping  ornamental shrubs into shapes.

Diarmuid finds it fun and has a Bay tree that needs tidying up back into its conical shape.

Diarmuid Gavin

Again this is from a Chelsea flower Show garden and every Summer Diarmuid tries to get it back to its former glory.

This is best done on a dull day as the sun would burn the leaves and once its done it will get a good water and a mulch of farmyard manure.

He has 6 of these pillars of Bay in the garden and it gives it some structure and Winter greenery from these left over plants.

'Edward Scissor-hands eat your heart out'!

Diarmuid has had his chicken for a month and he has loved it.

They are his girls and he is already very fond of them and its breakfast time so he lets them out.

Diarmuid Gavin

He let them get to know his voice so they will follow him around and in the evening they go out into the garden to eat the bugs but he not sure they are good for the plants!

They are already laying well and he is getting 3 eggs a day and are giving them away as well as enjoying them.

Diarmuid's Garden Project
Now its time to see what the wall makeover under the verandah looks like.

He had the wall battened then clad in wood and painted ..... pink!

Diarmuid Gavin

It has a Key West vibe and 'dances in the evening light' and has certainly brightened up the boring rendered wall.

It looks great and he has other salvaged items like a pair of huge Victorian lanterns that look amazing.

Huge over sized pots with shade loving plants and a Victorian plant stand with plants from the garden add to the eclectic feel of the space.

Diarmuid Gavin garden

Diarmuid Gavin garden

Diarmuid has a outdoor bar made out of an old balcony by the swing seats just perfect for that evening G&T. Love it!

Diarmuid dons a pink bowler hat and leaps onto the swing seat telling us how it gets the late sun and great for whiling away the hours, swinging.

Garden Makeover Reveal
Shane has been working very hard to get the garden ready and is adding some finishing touches to the beds.

Diarmuid cannot wait to see what he has done and has brought some presents including a tree!

Shane garden makeover

Shane says its been 'overwhelming' and without the help of friends he never could have done the garden.

The garden will take years to establish but its an amazing transformation for the beginning of the gardens journey.

The planting and design work very well together and he is very pleased.

Shane garden makeover

The Famine Pot finally has a suitable resting place for the next 180 years and the pillars and gates leading to it and looks wonderful.

Diarmuid Gavin

Diarmuid and the tree arrives with a big beaming smile.

He loves how the pot is 'beautifully framed' by the brick pillars and gate.

He points out the area that will be left to form the wild meadow and Shane says they already have loads of different habitats on the farm for wildlife.

This area will be another habitat.

Butterfly Bush

His wildlife planting includes Hylotelephium 'Mr Goodbud' Ice Plant and Buddleja Davidii Butterfly Bush.

Shane says what he likes is the whole year round planting in the garden, there is always going to be something of interest in the garden, whatever the season.

Michaelmas Daisy

Shane favourite include Salvia Uliginosa Bog Sage and Aster X Frikartii Michaelmas Daisy.

Diarmuid asks after the pigs and Shane admits he been too busy with the garden, to see them for last couple of days.

Pigs and gardens don't mix but they do make good ground clearers and Shane wonders if should have used them instead of the rotovator.

Shane garden makeover

Shane says the garden been quite stressful and Diarmuid wishes him many stress free days in it from now on.

The whole family turn up to enjoy the new garden with Shane.

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