RTÉ One, Friday, 8.30pm

Programme 1

Gardener: Peter Dowdall

This week in Fota Kitty and myself had the big reveal!! We got to see the 2 plots where we will each create a garden. Less of a big reveal and more a ‘oh look at the patch of grass’. The setting, in the orchard in Fota couldn’t be nicer, a real feeling that generations of gardeners have put lifetimes of work in before us. However a patch of grass is still just a patch of grass, no matter how nice the surroundings.

So where do we start, I have decided to create a garden that will be suitable for people to use as an extension to their home. Somewhere that provides for the less romantic but essentials such as the wheelie bins and clothes lines as well as a nice seating area surrounded by scented plants for those long summer evenings.

Kitty on the other hand is going more down the route (excuse the pun) of a totally edible and organic garden, so the two gardens should provide plenty of opportunity to see different approaches to similar spaces.

First things first, I sprayed my patch with Round Up to kill off existing vegetation, I then removed the sod and top few inches of topsoil. After doing that I prevailed on a friend of mine Chris Heffernan to rotovate the whole plot, this will make the soil much easier to work with. After that I have marked out the different areas in the garden. The patio, path, lawn area, flower beds and the area for fruit and veg. Once that was done it was time to dig out the area for the patio and path with Chris. This is to remove th good topsoil from the patio area so that the patio doesn’t sink in time. This topsoil will be used in the shrub beds. Then we filled it with about 5” of hardcore and whacked it to compress it. About 3” of sand is next to provide a level bed on which to put the paving.

I had decided that I would use an Indian Sandstone Rotunda for my patio, this is quite simply a round patio which comes in kit form so that there is no cutting involved. I think that using a circular shape for this area immediately alleviates the very square look that you often get in new gardens. The lawn that I will be working on next week will also be similar in shape for the same reason.

Once the patio was laid, myself and Chris put in the path which will provide easy access to other parts of the garden. And finally we put setts in around what will later be the lawn. These are laid in exactly the same way as the patio and they will provide a perfect perimeter between the lawn and shrub beds.

Kitty meanwhile was busy foraging for second hand anything to create her beds check out her blog for more.


The Gardeners