An interview with Mark Diacono

Special Guest - Mark Diacono

1. What sparked your interest in gardening?

My wife. I had no interest in gardening at all when we met but I quickly realised I needed to find something to do in the garden or I’d never see her!

2. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Martin Crawford, from the Agroforestry Research Trust. I visited his forest garden (a multi-layered food forest) in 2002 and it completely opened my eyes to another beautiful, sustainable way of growing.

3. What is your all-time favourite plant?

I’m tempted to say Szechuan pepper – the scent of the leaves and peppercorns is something else, and then there’s the pepper itself, which is so special. And then I might go for the pecan, as they look so graceful whatever time of the year, but in the end, it’s hard to beat a really wonderful apple from a local variety – a Veitches Perfection.

4. If you were having a dinner party, who would your top 3 guests be? 

Bill Murray, Trish Deseine (the brilliant Irish food writer) and Mackenzie Crook.

5. What would you cook a vegan who doesn’t like nut roast or carrots?

I think I’d go for Diana Henry’s cumin-roast aubergines with chick peas and dates, and I’d substitute yoghurt in the dressing for coconut cream.

6. Do you have a favourite gardening (or cooking!) gadget?

My Felco secateurs – I couldn’t be without them.

7. What is the best piece of horticultural advice you have ever been given?

Accentuate the positive, and leave some for the wildlife.

8. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland in Antrim Castle Gardens? 

Well, I love what I do and getting the chance to share ideas with people is always a pleasure, but selfishly the line up looks brilliant and full of people I’ve long admired and wanted to meet, so exactly that.


At the Show Mark will be giving advice on how we can all easily grow the unusual, and create amazing recipes. See more…


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