Celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin was very much down to earth for the launch of a community project to build an inner-city garden for homeless people in Dublin yesterday.
Gavin joined 24 second-year students from Larkin Community College at Dublin Simon’s homeless shelter in Sean McDermott St to discuss plans for an urban garden at the back of the building.
However, the controversial gardener, who always likes to plough his own furrow, was not digging any holes for himself in the ongoing Sky Garden row yesterday.
He refused to give an update on plans for his Sky Garden, which has been in storage for months in Cork’s Showgrounds.
Last month, Gavin poured further fuel on the garden fire by claiming that working with Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland was like “working with Fr Ted”.
Cork City Council is planning to relocate part of the Sky Garden into what will be a €1.8m revamp of the Mardyke Gardens at Fitzgerald Park.
“I am not going to talk about that today. Today is all about the students,” said Gavin, who is helping the young people design the small garden.
The Avatar-inspired garden, which won gold at the Chelsea Flower Show last year when it was slung from a crane, is likely to be installed on stilts in the northern area of Fitzgerald Park.
This year, Gavin’s Westland Magical Tower Garden won the award for “most creative show garden” at the Chelsea show.
Gavin said work on the garden for the Simon Community would begin next September but that he would not be looking skywards.
“I think the residents will want a very secure place — a haven for themselves.”
Gavin said the students were very much involved in the project.
“The students have all emailed their idea for it so we will get together again when they come back from school and begin working on it.”
The gardener had been asked to help the students by John Hennessey-Niland, who is deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Dublin.
Mr Hennessey-Niland is a frequent visitor to Larkin Community College where he is known for his inspiring talks.
The students are participating in the Localise Schools Programme, funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Justice and Equality.
Localise is also supported by the US embassy.
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