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Diarmuid said 'no' to Syrian dictator

IRISH garden designer Diarmuid Gavin was invited to create imperial gardens at Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's estate, but he has instead set his sights on the White House.

Al-Assad and his wife Asma invited the celebrity gardener to their home after spotting the Dubliner's ability at Chelsea Flower Show.

"Chelsea was fantastic. It was important to get the message out that we were open for business," Diarmuid (above) said.

"But we got some very odd requests. We received an invitation from the Syrian Presidential Palace to come over and look at their gardens."

However, Diarmuid (47) said that he has turned down the request and is now working on a project for Washington.

"An Irish architect won the competition to build the White House -- it needs an Irish garden," he said on the Late Late Show. "So some friends and I are thinking of the concept of a walled garden in an oval shape. An outdoor 'oval office'."

Diarmuid said that he is working with the American Embassy in Dublin and the Irish Embassy in the US.

He is also fronting the latest series of Dirty Old Towns to turn around some neglected green spaces across the country.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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