RTÉ One, Friday, 8.30pm

The Gardeners

Gardener 1: Peter Dowdall

Peter Dowdall owns and runs Dunsland Gardens and Garden Centre in Glanmire, Cork. He established the business in 1998 and it is now one of Corks leading garden centres. The gardens at Dunsland date back to the mid 1800s and had fallen into disrepair and Peter has spent the last number of years restoring them. The latest projec t in this restoration has been the Walled Garden@Dunsland which has seen a derelict Victorian Walled Garden restored with a 21st century twist. It now includes show gardens to give people an idea of how they can create gardens in their own space.

Peter has presented and guested in many television programmes related to gardening over the last 10 years.

  • For four years he was the gardener on Ireland AM on TV3
  • During 2009 Peter presented a show about kitchen and allotment gardening on RTÉ1 with top chef Richard Corrigan
  • Deals with all issues to do with gardening every Wednesday on C103FM
  • Presented the series Herbal Infusion on RTÉ
  • Appeared on the BBC’s Ground Force when they worked on their Irish garden
  • Has appeared on many more television programmes such as RTÉ’s Nationwide and Soul Food and Channel 4 Plant Life.
  • Peter has a passion for plants and whilst in College in the UK helped prepare plants for two Silver Gilt medal winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show

Peter's first book was published in 2010, the book aims to share with readers the basic tools, techniques and principles of how to create and maintain a beautiful garden through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Straightforward, no-nonsense language and advice, along with simple photography showing the practicalities of gardening will advise budding gardeners on how to build their garden from a naked skeleton through to a beautifully garbed wonderland. The book will give people a greater understanding of the part that gardening and nature plays in their lives, in their health and in their general wellbeing.

The book is separated into horticultural sections - architectural plants, evergreens, seasonal plants, contrast & textural plants, herbs, fruit & vegetables, and container gardening – so whether the reader is starting their garden from scratch, or merely looking for advice on annuals or the edible garden, they will find what they are looking for easily. Each section is covered from the point of view of choosing the right plant for the right space, the planting itself, and maintaining the plants through the seasons. Each section will also contain boxed-out sections, or sidebars that highlight interesting and useful information for the gardener, e.g. soil science, composting etc. Everything will be laid out in layman’s terms and use easy to follow instruction. Each section will be prose – with any step by step detailing separated out into sidebars, boxes or offset paragraphs to give readers an easy to use reference.

At the heart of this book lies a DIY ethic that applies not only to the garden, but also to living. We are intrinsically linked to plants and the natural world and the survival of plants and the natural world is intrinsically linked to us. As a gardener I feel it is very important that I leave the planet in a better condition than when I found it. I think it is important for all humans to think like this. With this in mind I feel that gardens should be working hand in hand and symbiotically with nature as opposed to fighting against it. A ten-year battle with cancer gave me an entirely new view on life and living and the vital link between me and the nature around me. It was nature that helped me to heal; from the tree I could see through my hospital room window that taught me to appreciate each passing season, to the herbs that naturally eased my discomfort.



Gardener 2: Kitty Scully

Growing up on a mixed farm in Co Laois, Kitty Scully was inspired by her parent’s talents for organic farming, seasonal vegetable growing and self sufficiency. The seeds for her career in horticulture were planted and nurtured at an early age.

On her travels she expanded her knowledge while working on organic farms in Australia and New Zealand and living with an indigenous community in the Amazon Jungle, Bolivia. She returned to Ireland and studied Organic Horticulture and Sustainable Living at an tIonad Glas College in Dromcolligher, Co. Limerick.

Since graduating in 2008, Kitty has worked as Farm Manager & Course Developer, in the Nano Nagle Centre for Heritage, Spirituality and Ecology in North Cork. The centre’s main focus in farming is self sufficiency, education and supplying a farmers market. The 32 acre certified organic mixed farm incorporates over an acre in vegetables, a kitchen garden, an orchard, poultry and livestock. Her job allows her enthusiasm for all that grows naturally and is edible to flourish.

Kitty delivers courses and workshops in organic horticulture, kitchen gardening, poly-tunnel gardening, sustainability in food and preserving. She is also involved with the centre’s extensive environmental and earth based training programmes for primary and secondary schools.

Kitty is on the Board of Directors for IOFGA, the largest organic farmers and growers certification body in Ireland and writes a bi-monthly article on seasonal food for the magazine, Organic Matters.

In 2009, gaelic speaking Kitty contributed to TG4’s gardening programme, An Garraí Glas. In 2010 she visited community gardens around the country with celebrity chef, Richard Corrigan, co presenting RTÉ’s Corrigan Cooks Naturally programme.

Kitty’s enthusiasm and zest for growing seasonal, local, natural food is contagious and infectious and she enjoys passing on her passion to all that she meets!


Handy Man: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill is married with one teenage daughter. He started in construction as a ‘teaboy’ at the age of 15. Attended Cork RTC (now CIT) and achieved National Certificate in Civil Engineering. In the mid 80’s Sean left the building trade to become Lead singer/songwriter in a band called the Burning Embers. They released five singles in Ireland but they didn’t hit the big time and broke up in 1990. Sean went on to manage one of Ireland’s top house music clubs, Sir Henry’s nightclub/venue in Cork city. In the mid nineties, feeling a bit old for the club scene, Sean went back to his roots and went into business supplying and fitting wood floors and that’s where he is today.

The Gardeners

Gardener: Peter Dowdall

The Gardeners

Gardener: Kitty Scully

The Gardeners

Handy Man: Sean O'Neill