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TGtS Meets...David Domoney
Dubbed the Heston Blumenthal of the horticultural world, we chatted with celebrity gardener David Domoney ahead of his appearance at The Brunel's Flour Festival this coming weekend.
When did you first discover that you had green fingers?
My parents were always really keen to encourage me to garden as a child. We all used to have our own little spot in the garden where we'd grow all sorts of bits and pieces. When I was a scout we used to do something called 'Bob-a-job' day, the aim was to do odd jobs at people's houses and raise money for the scout fund. When 'Bob-a-job' finished, rather than doing a paper round, I used to go around mowing the pensioners lawns, therefore I was earning money, being outside and getting a nice slice of Victoria Sponge and a cup of tea at the same time.
Growing up who were your horticultural heroes?
David Bellamey, growing up he was one of the big names in horticulture for kids. I actually did an interview with him recently when I was working on ITV's This Morning, it was certainly a 'meet your hero' kind of moment, I got my hands well into his compost.
How does it feel being called the Heston Blumenthal of the gardening world?
It's funny because you want your own reputation. I suppose as a parallel I've always tried to make gardening interesting to a wider audience, a little bit like Top Gear or Masterchef does, you don't have to be an engineer or a chef to enjoy the shows. I've always had the tendency to create gardens that capture the imagination, I've done a load of out of the box things like put live piranhas in the underwater biotopes at Chelsea and landscaped a garden with £20 million worth of diamonds.
Do you have a favourite garden that you’ve created?
I've always loved the underwater gardens that we do, ever since I was a kid they've held a certain fascination. Having said that, I created a garden for Harley Davidson once, which has always been one of my favourites to do - with my style of gardening it's about so much more than just potting plants and weeding boarders.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Everywhere I look captures my imagination. Whether it's a garage forecourt or a prize winning plot of land, as a gardener I've constantly got my eyes open. I have a tendency, when designing to enjoy an evening of it, most of my ideas don't come from sitting at a drawing board they come with a glass of wine, cooking the BBQ. It's about letting your imagination go and not being tied to the parameters of the traditional design.
When creating a garden where do you start?
I usually close my eyes and walk through the garden in my mind. I have a square that's drawn on a piece of paper and identify how I'm going to get to from one side of the garden to the other. If I were advising anybody else how to create their own garden, I'd suggest doing the same thing from an upstairs window, using hose pipes to work out where they'd have the boarders.
What’s your favourite season for gardening and why?
Spring, I like to see flowers in bud as much as I can, there's an element of hope and looking forward to something when March rolls around, I think that it's when earth comes back to life again - every year I find it an awesome and humbling experience.
What are your top gardening tips for summer?
I'd recommend plenty of watering and lots of trips to gardening centres - trying to get something that's in flower every week of summer will leave your garden looking great. Fragrant plants are also an absolute must, I think adding something with a nice smell gives gardens a whole new dimension. Fruit trees are brilliant too, not only are they aesthetic but you'll end up with your own tasty produce. Try and attract as much wildlife as possible too, whether it's a little watering table for birds or a yellow sponge soaked in sugar water for butterflies, you want your garden to be alive with nature.
If he could only grow 5 things in your garden what would they be?
An apple tree, a rose bush, a strawberry patch, a grandis tree and mint.
What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?
It was judging Cultivation Street, it's a campaign that I started to encourage community gardening, we ran it last year at a park and got thousands of people together to create their own community garden. Some of the stories of these people were incredible and it was truly inspiring being able to help these people garden together - it was both an exciting and enlightening experience and I was so proud to be a part of it.
For more information about David head over to daviddomoney.com
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