We’re delighted to speak to celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin, a highly respected garden designer and TV presenter on shows including Gardener’s World and Home Front with Laurence Lewellyn-Bowen.
Diarmuid studied amenity horticulture at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in Dublin. Following this he established his own garden design business. After twice winning the Royal Dublin Society Gold medal for garden design during the nineties, he displayed at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 1995 and 1996. His modern vibrant city garden in 1996 caused quite a stir and led to a career in television where he developed an individual style in contemporary garden design. Diarmuid has worked for all the main broadcasters on both radio and television in the UK and Ireland. For 8 years his main programme, Homefront, was broadcast by the BBC.
Diarmuid has written 10 books on garden design. His 11th is his autobiography, ‘How The Boy Next Door Turned Out’. He runs a garden design studio, with clients in Europe, South Africa and the Middle East and has worked with Moscow City Council examining the work of Russian contemporary designers. Diarmuid has teamed up with home improvement specialists, Wickes, to introduce a series of hour-long outdoor life ‘hacks’ that will transform your garden or outdoor living space in five easy-to-follow steps. His design philosophy follows the standard form and function, always listening to the client but adding a twist, an element of surprise and often fun.
What are the three key trends in gardening this season?
As we enter the autumn season, it’s time to start planting bulbs for the spring season. People are heading to the garden centres and they’re buying a couple of hundred bulbs of single species type to make a big impact. The key thing is to make an impact with a single colour. It’s also important to feed the birds and look after wildlife as it gets colder. Thirdly, remember to look after garden maintenance such as sheds and fences. A key trend is to paint fences and sheds for example a dark colour, which can look very stylish.
What are the three best ways to winter-proof your garden?
It’s important to blanket over areas of garden. In horticultural terms, this means using a mulch. You can also try to keep plant roots warm using a horticultural fleece. Finally, you can limit stalk growth in the winter months by choosing low nitrogen plants.
What are you three design tips for smaller gardens or yards?
You could plant a bed of thyme or a camomile lawn rather than focusing on a more traditional lawn, as they can be a lot of work. You could also make more use of walls and plant shrubs, herbaceous borders and perennials.
Do you recommend hanging baskets?
Hanging baskets are definitely part of the great British gardening tradition. You can use vibrant colours and trailing plants and they can be a welcoming addition to a property.
Where do you take your personal inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from all over, from movies to pop concerts to Pinterest to other disciplines such as architecture. The world is literally at your fingertips.
What are three simple things people can do to improve their garden?
You can garden organically; by getting rid of chemicals including weed killers you can increase the biodiversity of a garden. Water features are great and can really help to improve a garden. A herb garden can be a fantastic addition too.
How would you recommend keeping the garden looking good in the winter months?
Now’s the time to tidy up and cut back. Make use of the compost heap as this will provide food for the garden.
Are there any other tips you would offer the budding gardener?
It’s important to get the soil right, including understanding what type of soil you have. If you’re moving to a new area, ask for local advice to find out what people are using in their gardens.
Is there anything else you’re working on at present?
We’re planning a garden for next year’s Chelsea Flower Show and also working on gardens throughout Europe.