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Home > People

WAWIBF... Diarmuid Gavin

28 May 2004

Whether itís the suffocating sickly stench of natureís bepetalled harem or the sultry ever-presence of grand doyen, Titchmarsh, the world of celebrity gardening is an explosive game and at the Chelsea Flower Show, passions invariably run high.

This year it almost turned into the Chelsea Smile Show when green-fingered firebrand Diarmuid Gavin allegedly had to be physically restrained from going at fellow gardener Bunny Guinness with a sharpened trowel. Guinness had the pitch next to Gavin and apparently her wall was a bit too high for the prima donna TV starís liking. When you take into consideration the fact that he lied about being sponsored to get into the show in the first place, you begin to realise just how hungry the man is for success. Attention-seeking Gavin has been described as many things, perhaps most tellingly as ĎTracey Emin in welliesí.

In a pre-show press release which appeared at the beginning of the week, Gavin spoke of his difficulty finding a sponsor. "I was a bit arrogant and thought I would be swamped by offers but instead there was just silence," he admits. "I was too dumb to think of [Camelot] even though [my show entry] had coloured balls. Thankfully, they called me and wanted it to celebrate the tenth birthday of The National Lottery. Camelot saved my bacon. I was pretty demented by then."

Later in the week on his Big Adventure TV show, he confessed that he had lied to the Royal Horticultural Society just to get a crack at some Chelsea glory. Director of the whole shebang, Stephen Bennett, is very cross. "We are very cross about his lying about sponsorship," he said. But Gavin seems to have got away with it. He was awarded a silver-gilt medal, whatever that is. Whatever it is, Bunny Guinness got one too. Gavin is happy.

In his Chelsea Garden online diary on Tuesday, he spelled it out: "People are shouting out my name and taking photographs and smiling and itís all I wanted from this garden."

He is a dodgy bugger, old Diarmuid. In a BBC webchat a couple of years ago, in answer to a question from one Gloria Jefferson about funding his creations, he replied, "We beg, borrow and steal," before quickly covering his tracks with, "but we've never stolen!" Hmmm. Who knows? The man is clearly capable of anything and should at all costs be kept away from the fertiliser.

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