Viewers in Northern Ireland this week got to watch gardening guru Diarmuid Gavin on his mission to help people build outdoor havens amidst the chaos of the coronavirus.
But many will be unaware that he himself has found great solace and healing in nature after a horrific childhood tragedy. The 56-year-old, who lives in Wicklow with his wife Justine and their daughter Eppie (15), is the presenter of new BBC One NI show Gardening Together, which traverses the countyside, north and south, stopping off in Belfast, Antrim and Down as well as Dublin, Wicklow and Howth.
And one of the most poignant stories featured is that of Nichola McGregor, from Co Antrim, whose partner Arnie drowned after entering a lake at Tollymore Forest Park in February this year to try and save their dog which had got into difficulties.
Diarmuid and his team help to create a beautiful garden for her - and it's clear he knows how therapeutic just such an outdoor space can be.
Recalling the traumatic events that had a profound impact on his life, he says: "I was born in London and was a month old when my parents moved home to the suburbs of Dublin. I was raised in Rathfarnham in the southside of Dublin about five miles from the city centre on a suburban housing estate. I lived there with my mum, Joan, and dad, Jack. There were five of us.
"My brother Conor was five when I was six years old - we were born on the same day a year apart. He was knocked down and killed when we were walking to school one day and everything changed from that day on. We had drink and depression in the house with my dad and there was a fight to survive as a family, but we got there.
"Something like that just changes everything. My parents had a new baby, Conor had just died and life became hard, the black dog of depression came for my dad. And he tried to keep everything together. My dad was a very brilliant guy who wouldn't have had the opportunities he gave to his children.
"He had an absolutely brilliant brain and would have done well. But I think Conor going stalled everything and he wouldn't have had the happiest life thereafter. He took great joy in his family and in opera, so that was his big passion."
Diarmuid wasn't an academic child. "I wasn't particularly good in school. I didn't feel I was stupid, I was made to feel a little stupid. The way school was in those days wouldn't have suited me. I got lost in it a little bit but by the time I left school I knew I wanted to do something creative."
Discovering how much he loved gardening also helped. "When I was young there was a river and a municipal park near where we lived. I used to get my Dad's gardening tools, his spade and his shovel, and would go across the river and up into this park. I began to landscape there. I was a very odd child.
"At the end of this park I discovered that there was a secret garden belonging to someone and I'd go in there too. I was an absolute dreamer but I was also heavily influenced by art and design, contemporary and abstract art. There was always this excitement about marrying the two and no one was doing that. So from an early age I always knew I wanted to make gardens, but gardens that were different.
"I hated the normality of suburbia. I hated living in a pebble-dashed house. I hated the fact that I was brought up not to have any dreams. I used to look at Top of the Pops with Boy George or David Bowie and that was the height of glamour, and the idea of New York and Andy Warhol and Blondie just really excited me."
Given the family tragedy, Diarmuid freely admits there was - and still is - "escapism in the garden for me".
"I could be anywhere in the world and if I get back at the weekend, I just want to be out in the garden. It's funny though, because I've only seriously built and planted my own garden in the last seven years - before it was for Eppie and her mates and trampolines and swings.
"I wander out on a Saturday morning and it will look at me suspiciously and I will look at it suspiciously. If I had an idea for something, where would I start and why would I start? And then all of a sudden it's 11pm on a Sunday night and I haven't stopped. And you're filthy and you're wrecked and you fall into bed and you haven't had a shower, and you don't sleep because you haven't had a shower, but the excitement is unreal.
"One time last year my wife came out, and it was 4.30am and she said 'you can't, what are the neighbours going to think?' But the excitement of planting something or digging an area is just fantastic.
"Scientists and botanists will tell you that there is something in the soil that is released once you start working with it and it makes you feel better. And that is physically true."
Until the pandemic struck, Diarmuid's enjoyed an "around-the-world existence", but that's over for now. "We all have our own stories over the last five months and it has meant something different to us all. A lot of us have sailed through it, a lot of us are living in a false economy at the moment because we don't know what the new reality means. It's all very strange, but I think that this autumn and winter it will hit."
One of his close friends was also hit hard by Covid-19. "He sent me a text one day just saying 'I'm case number 40'," he says. "Everyone was talking about this all around the world, with cases in China and Italy, and my mate from down the road all of a sudden was one of these guys.
"After 10 days I started going down to his house, I'd pick up some coffee at the Avoca shop and leave it on his windowsill. He'd come to the window, I'd step back and we'd have a chat. It was surreal. Even within his own house he was isolated from his family. When he was just out of it, it really hit him hard. He is a healthy athletic person, an amazing tennis player, he and I train every day and one day he found it hard to breathe. He was so knocked by it."
During lockdown Diarmuid has been reaching out to gardeners across Ireland, the UK and the world via his Instagram posts in which he has given tips and answered gardening questions nightly. From the huge success of this, the seeds of his new show Gardening Together were sown.
The new six-part series sees Diarmuid tap into a huge rise in interest in all things green, sharing his passion for gardening with people direct from his own Wicklow garden sanctuary.
From novices to seasoned gardeners, Diarmuid will be offering advice to green-fingered viewers. There will be planting suggestions, gorgeous flowers and practical tips. And he'll call on the help of other experts in the horticultural field, and follow the fortunes of some fellow gardeners tackling ambitious projects in their own back gardens.
Over the next few weeks Diarmuid will transform the gardens of the Montgomery family in Banbridge and of Rachel Kelly in Drumbo, as well as that of Nichola, whose story and garden really touched Diarmuid and his team.
"I think an urge to help people inspired this television show," he says. "There was one story that really stood out for me. Nichola McGregor's story and her personality was just unbelievable. The story of what she has been through is just remarkable, as is her luminous personality.
"Nichola's partner Arnie lived in France, he worked there, and they used to go over there all the time together. He was the best guy in the world and was the guy who was going to take care of her and build everything for her. On a weekend home, a dog got into difficulties on a lake and Arnie went in after him and he lost his life. They had just bought their house and before he died he had talked about all the things he was going to do in the garden. He was a man who could do anything. The story would break your heart.
"The garden we helped create is the best garden in the series bar none. The couple used to spend time in this French village, so I tried to recreate the essence of that. It is a bit of magic."
Diarmuid says that he hopes the programme will bring a little magic to viewers' lives.
"I think what this programme has become is warm and sunny and a bit of a gardening cuddle," he says. "It's not one of the gardening makeover programmes. It's called Gardening Together. It's about giving answers to people's questions. It's music, it's brewing the coffee, it's gardening as part of your life. I would hope that we have created just the nicest show. It's the best experience I've had in television in a long time."
And Diarmuid has also added to his family during lockdown, acquiring three hens which he has gifted with very special names.
He adds, with a smile: "I have three female rescue hens whom I've called Arlene, Michelle and Mary Lou. My wife wasn't too fussed about getting chickens, but I can see gradually every day that she is being seduced. I think the three women - the real Arlene, Michelle and Mary Lou - are very funny. Politics is such a complicated process but I think they are getting on with it and my three hens are clucking away in harmony with them."
Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin continues on Monday on BBC One Northern Ireland at 7.30pm and is also on BBC iPlayer