RTÉ One, Thursday, 7.00pm
Dermot's Secret Garden

Episode 4


It's now high summer in Clondeglass and there are plenty of plants in flower. We start by looking at one of Dermot's favourite foxgloves...

Digitalis 'Pam's Choice' - which is two-toned red and white. This is a biennial, grown from seed one year and allowed to flower the following year. The seeds can be collected and the whole process started over again. It's very popular with bumble bees in the garden.

Iris germanica - Dermot has been collecting irises for many years and was inspired to use them at the edge of a pathway by visits to Monet's garden at Giverny. They require perfect drainage and sunshine, and need to be lifted and divided every three years to keep them in top condition.

Candelabra Primulas - These belong to a group of primulas which enjoy moisture. Dermot, over several seasons, hand picked shades of pink which he grouped together, planting them in the shade of a yew hedge where, because of the slope of the garden, there is plenty of moisture.

Clematis 'Niobe' - A beautifully ruby-coloured clematis, this is trained up through a fig (Ficus digitata), where it adds extra interest and colour to the east wall of the garden. Dermot gives the clematis an annual mulch to encourage flowering stems.

Oakfield Park

Dermot visited Sir Gerry Robinson and his wife Lady Heather at their home, Oakfield Park in Raphoe, Co. Donegal, for a garden open day to raise funds for cancer research.

Oakfield Park is an eighteenth century Georgian Deanery. Sitting in a lush landscape of parklands and mature woodlands, overlooking the distant Croaghan Mountain, the grounds include a traditional walled garden and kitchen garden. Flower meadows, lakes and streams, as well as wild and wetland areas, are entiwined with over 4km of narrow gauge railway to give hours of pleasure. Discover willow tunnels, oak circlles, boardwalks, a parterre and a classicla Nymphaeum by the upper lake.

For more details of opening times, visit www.oakfieldpark.com

TIP: While wandering around the garden with Sir Gerry, Dermot gave some advice on how to deal with blackspot on roses. A simple organic method using a mixture of 50/50 water and milk, sprayed onto the foliage.


It's important to keep slugs and snails at bay if growing dahlias. They appreciate good quality soil and will reward you with continuous flower until the first frost. Dahlias offer great value in the garden, especially as they flower late into the season.

Dermot was seem in Clondeglass moving small dahlia plants from a nursery bed in preparation for planting into a larger bed where they have room to grow and develop. As well as giving a fantastic display in the garden, the dahlias made marvellous cut flowers over a long period.

Favourite Flowers In Summer

In the rose garden, many perennial plants can be seen in flower, including the exotic-looking poppy Papaver 'Patty's Plum', which is noted for its unusual colouring. It makes a very exotic statement in the border. Also, drifts of Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus 'Sooty' - a variety with red flowers and purple foliage), makes a striking statement. In another area Sweet William hybrids have been used in their mixed colours adding a lovely old-fashioned quality to the rose garden. They are easy to grow from seed and were planted about six weeks in advance of them flowering.

Several old-fashioned roses were in bloom in this episode. These included a moss rose known as Rosa 'Henri Martin'. Its buds are covered in a furry green moss-like growth. Another very tough and easy to grow rose is Rosa rugosa 'Roseraie de l'Hay', which never gets blackspot, makes a great splash and is noted for its fantastic fragrance that travels through the rose garden. Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue' is excellent as a cut flower and has a very pleasing fragrance. It works well with perennial plants, the unusual and subtle colouring being compatible with a wide range of perennials in flower at this time of year. Finally, a great old favourite is the rambling rose 'Albertine', which produces sweetly scented, apricot pink flowers. It needs to be fed very well as it is prone to blackspot.

Still in the rose garden, Dermot has included a very choice plant Schefflera macrophylla. This has remarkable ginger-coloured new growth and very beautiful leaves. It's one of many different scheffleras he grows in the garden. This particular variety is one of his favourites and he acquired it from Finlay Colley at Rare Plants Ireland who usually appears at the Rare and Special Plant Fair which this year is being held at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly on 8th May www.rareandspecialplantsfair.com

Also in the programme was Geranium palmatum, which produced a mass of pink flowers. Along the edge of the path, Dermot grows Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant', which is attractive to garden insects, including a wide range of butterflies that visit the garden.

Climbing in the garden is a very showy honeysuckle called Lonicera 'Mandarin'. This doesn't have the typical honeysuckle fragrance, but makes up for it with its richly coloured flowers of red, orange and flame. Growing close by is Astrantia 'Hadspen Blood', a plant which associates extremely well with old-fashioned roses and also makes an excellent cut flower.

A very striking herbaceous perennial seen in this episode is Aconitum 'Bicolor'. This produces white and blue hood-shaped flowers which open in tall spikes. It likes a sheltered, sunny spot and is happy in well prepared soil.

Lilium lancifolium was, for many years, called Lilium tigridum, commonly known as the tiger lily. It likes an open, sunny spot with good quality, free draining soil. It's easy to propogate from bulbils which develop along the plant's stem.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' also needs a sunny position and a free draining spot. When given these conditions, it will produce a stunning scarlet display of flowers for weeks on end through the summer.

Botanical Art

Dermot visited the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, one of his favourite haunts since childhood. There he met Susan Sex, a renowned botanical artist, and chatted to her as she worked on a watercolour of an exotic orchid.

Dermot also took some time to view the botanical painting archive in the library at Glasnevin with Susan, to see examples of botanical art by other noted artists, including Lydia Shackleton, Wendy Walsh and Charlotte Wheeler Cuffe.


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