Diarmuid Gavin invites us inside his Xanadu of split levels, balconies and fancy foliage

Gardening Together: Gavin is the Dark Knight to Dermot Bannon’s caped crusader

They could be filming the new Jurassic World down there and we’d never know.

They could be filming the new Jurassic World down there and we’d never know.

 

In the Batman Vs Superman of Irish lifestyle TV, Diarmuid Gavin is very much the Dark Knight to Dermot Bannon’s caped crusader. Outwardly he is dashing and debonair. But look at those pools of darkness around his eyes and don’t tell me he doesn’t have a slightly intimidating side. In the correct circumstances, you imagine him not suffering idiots blundering through his gladioli.

Gavin doesn’t live in a Batcave – to the best of our knowledge. But on Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin (RTÉ One, Friday) he takes the viewer on a tour of his very own Wayne Manor in Bray, Co Wicklow. It is quite the Xanadu, featuring split levels, and a complicated network of balconies and descending stairs. And beyond that, a king’s ransom in fancy foliage. They could be filming the new Jurassic World down there and we’d never know.

The idea behind Gardening Together is that it’s a casual lockdown hang with the green-fingered gadabout. He Skypes fellow Wicklow resident Mary to offer advice on bringing excitement to her front garden (which is vast but bland). And then it’s over to veteran gardener Helen Dillon in Monkstown, Co Dublin. There is also a segment on a network of urban gardens in Belfast flourishing as coronavirus turns so much of normality on its head.

The going is easy even as Gavin discusses complicated-looking flowers such as the “African Lily” and “Black Knight”. And because a top TV gardener cannot live on Zoom calls alone, the episode concludes with the titan of topiary in his car, off to deliver a basket of roses to Mary. Good vibrations ensue – a disappointment if you’ve come straight from a Room to Improve binge on the RTÉ Player and are thus primed for a passive aggressive stare-off between presenter and punter.

That just isn’t how Gavin rolls. Underneath it all, it is true he’s serious about his craft. Yet that gravitas is matched by irrepressible enthusiasm and a passion for getting stuck in. He’s worthwhile company even if you couldn’t tell a foxglove from a low-flying frisbee.

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