With spring here – and we all waiting for warmer days – we spoke to Ireland's best-known and celebrity gardener, Diarmuid Gavin, about his innovative landscaping company and tips to start your dream garden.
You’ve been working with your landscaping company in different countries around Europe. What would you say are the main difference between working abroad and at home, in Ireland?
Despite the fact that we can sometimes feel that working in Ireland is difficult for various trades and professions, the lack of red of tape and licenses or permissions required is striking once you experience projects elsewhere. For instance, in parts of France our projects have been shut down for up to six weeks by the local mayor and police because they don’t want visitors disturbed during the holiday season. In parts of Eastern Europe skilled workforces are available but they can be a curious mental hangover from Communist era times which comes into play with a general reluctance for innovation or a get up and go attitude.
We know you can’t talk much about your clients, but what’s the most exciting part of planning and executing a garden project for you?
There are a few exciting times. Firstly when you get that flash of inspiration, when you’re hit with an idea that overwhelms you with excitement. It may be that you see some planting in the area that you are working that excites you about possibilities or it may be something the client says that inspires a direction.
I’m also hugely excited by working with teams to bring a garden to life. It’s great to see plans on paper turn into areas of planting, pools, steps or terraces.
What are the main tips you’d give to people with a big dream and small budget for having the own garden?
The joy of gardens is often to be found in good use of plants. This needn’t be expensive. If you get your soil right, know a little bit about your conditions and invest in some structural plants such as trees, shrubs or beautiful one off specimens like a gorgeous Japanese maple, the rest can be achieved through packets of seeds. I like to keep hard landscaping simple using one choice from a range of paving rather than mix and matching. Less can be more and plants are the ultimate garden excitement.
Sometimes people have a great plan, are able to create a lovely garden but forget about maintain it after. What’s the best ways to keep your garden looking good once it’s finished?
If we go back to the start, ensure that your garden preparation is top notch. By digging out all perennial weeds, roots and shoots, you should reduce the amount of competition your plants have for nutrients and water. When you are planting devise a good mixed scheme with plenty of ground covers to create a carpet underneath your star plants. In the first couple of years, use a mulch such as forest bark to create a blanket over bare soil, stopping weeds germinating, retaining moisture and warming the soil.
Diarmuid Gavin has a full range of paving and decorative walling products with Kilsaran available in Woodie’s.