Updated: 19/04/17 : 05:36:25
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Local garden designer tried singing first

AWARD WINNING local garden designer and national TV personality Leonie Cornelius might instead have been a singing star.

She was friendly with Westlife and after one of their Dublin shows a record producer heard her sing.

''I was painfully shy at the time and wouldn't sing,'' she recalled in an interview for the new issue of the RTÉ Guide.

''But after a glass of beer,'' said Cornelius:  ''I sang some Toni Braxton and a producer asked me to sing more.

''He later wrote me a song, invited me to London and I went with my dad.

''I was 17 and my father said I'd have to be 18 to sign anything'' was the wise advice she got.

Never Found

Then, however, she opted to study interior architecture at Sligo Institute of Technology, a five years degree course.

''I wasn't enjoying the singing and never really found the music I was comfortable with,'' she told the RTÉ Guide.

Surprise Visits

Cornelius has now settled to live overlooking Lough Doon, near Fivemilebourne, Dromahaire.

The ninth series of ''Super Garden,'' on which she is a judge, will screen on RTÉ One from next Tuesday night, April 25th, at 8.30pm.

The format has changed this year; there will be no mentors but the five designers will get ''surprise visits'' from the judges. 

Is Cornelius a tough judge? ''Most of the times I'm incredibly soft,'' she told writer Donal O'Donoghue in the magazine.