Celebrity garden designer Diarmuid Gavin has claimed the RHS begged him to appear at Chelsea Flower Show in May, but he said no because the Society wanted him to build on the “wrong side” of Main Avenue.
Home Front’s Diarmuid says in his new autobiography called How the Boy Next Door Turned Out that RHS shows representative Hayley Monckton told him last year: “You are the one that matters to us. There are other names, but most people have never heard of them.”
Diarmuid says he was offered a spot on the less preferred side of the famous row of gardens, so exhibiting was “not worthwhile”. The designer said there is a “40 per cent chance” he will be at Chelsea in 2011 but only if he has time: “Our plans are out of this world, quite literally, a garden that hangs in the sky, a garden suspended over one of the world’s greatest cities. If I can make this happen I’ll be delighted.”
But Diarmuid is having a working holiday in South Africa for a fortnight before the show and will only return on the first day, so he may not exhibit. He said: “To design this garden for Chelsea, it needs me and I’m not around a lot. I don’t know if I need Chelsea any more but I love it. It may be indulgent of me to do it. It’s more to do with ego.”
Diarmuid hit out in the book about the standard of garden shows on the box. “Gardening TV is stuffed with bores. It’s banal. It’s bland. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. A lot of gardeners might like that. Not every gardener wants to be cutting edge.”
The design guru spoke out about not being able to present BBC coverage of Chelsea in 2007 after AG revealed he was advertising Westland compost on ITV – a breach of BBC rules.
He said: “I created a mess. I said yes to Westland but I didn’t tell my agent.”
Diarmuid said he kept his word to advertise because “a deal is a deal” and was not worried about losing his BBC job because he was “a little bit bored with Chelsea coverage”.