Monty Don books

Ive read quite a few Monty Don books, the most recent being his book about the dogs that he has owned during his life - My Family and Other Dogs, which is a lovely read.

His Jewel Garden book is also a very enjoyable read, covering his early life and the creation of his gardens.

And now Ive just preordered his new book - Down to Earth which comes out next month, which I'm looking forward to reading.

I do enjoy his books, he writes well and makes them such an enjoyable read.

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Last edited: 01 September 2017 17:12:19


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    He does write well but if I want to learn about practical gardening I go to Geoff Hamilton and Alan Titchmarsh and Beth Chatto and others.

    The Vendée, France
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,094

    It's probably fair to say that although Monty has been involved in gardening all his life, it hasn't been his main area of interest throughout as it was for the likes of Geoff Hamilton.  Monty has a background in writing and broadcasting and that is likely to have affected the way he writes, whereas Geoff Hamilton would write more from a purely practical point of view.

  • JamesOJamesO Posts: 197

    Link above to order the book but also chance to win a trip for two to London to the book launch and signed copy

  • I understand the viewpoint that Monty has had other aspects to his life, but surely, his current role as chief presenter of Gardeners World lends his authority and expertise an irrefutable credibility, at least, it does for me and countless others. I find his gentle manner irresistbly inspiring, and his knowledge probably more hard won than the likes of Alan Titchmarsh who also has his sideline in publishing romantic fiction. Whats wrong with having two strings to your bow, and why does that diminish your credibility as a respected authority on horticulture?  Happy days to all, Annesandra.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,227

    "as a respected authority on horticulture?  "

     But he's not.

    Ask those who work in professional horticulture.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    As I've said, Monty writes well but you'd expect that form someone who read English Literature at Cambridge.  However, his horticultural knowledge is all gleaned form personal experience and what he's read or seen.

    He has no formal training or qualifications and that leads him to make mistakes both in his own garden - which anyone can do - but also when giving advice on TV and that is a worry.  He also doesn't like or have lawns and that means he can't tell people - and that's most UK gardeners - how and when to treat them for various problems or give authoritative advice on how to prepare or repair or use one to best advantage to show off other plants and borders.

    His own garden is all hemmed in with hedges and, to me, claustrophobic but he does have some wonderful plants and combinations and I like his feeling for wildlife and organic methods but I'd be happy if I never saw him mention bananas again.

    Last edited: 22 September 2017 12:03:27

    The Vendée, France
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,227

    Funnily enough, I'm a big fan of the bananas, which , to be fair, is only seen about 4 times a year. 

    Can we get rid of the endless shots of dozing dogs?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    The problem is he ships those bananas in and out with the same commentary every year and I reckon they are time wasted as of little personal interest or relevance to the vast majority of viewers in the UK.   I could grow them here but, judging by what I've see, they get shredded by winter gales and look deeply unattractive for months.  

    The Vendée, France
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 14,227

    But, to be fair, Shipped in and out = 2 segments in a year, and at least it's gardening.

    We get about 5 or 6 dog shots per episode.

    I used to watch GW every Friday. If I was out at night, I'd record it and watch it before going to bed, no matter how late it was. 

    I now record it just so I can use the FF button.

    Last edited: 22 September 2017 13:00:36

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Interestingly - a few weeks back, he had a golden opportunity to show people how to sharpen tools, while gently rambling about sharop tools and the beauty of doing the job etc.  He didn't though.

    Last night, Jim (Beechgrove) did exactly that in a couple of minutes with a pair of secateurs. 

    Just sayin'....

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 1,713
    Obelixx says:

    He has no formal training or qualifications and that leads him to make mistakes both in his own garden - which anyone can do - but also when giving advice on TV and that is a worry.  

    See original post

    It is his weakness but I think it's also a strength as far as presenting GW is concerned. His predecessor on the programme, who does have formal horticultural training (and likes to tell everyone about it at every opportunity), sometimes gave off an air of 'if you've not been properly trained you shouldn't attempt this', whereas MD comes across as 'what the hey give it a go - whats the worst that can happen?'. That's not terribly helpful if you're looking for information, but if your aim is to motivate novices to jump in and try, it's more accessible as a style of presenting.

    They do try to balance enthusiastic amateur with people who actually know what they are talking about and I know there's a few on here that think they get that wrong. But I wouldn't criticise them for trying to have some amateurism in this type of programme. And he isn't ALWAYS wrong - quite often he is right, at least for a garden in central England on a flat site with clay soil and established hedges. Even Chris Beardshaw on Beechgrove, of whom I've not yet heard it said 'he doesn't know what he's talking about', gives advice now and then that I would dispute (taking cuttings from bearded iris, for example). And Adam Frost (dealing with bindweed). And if you're going to argue about MD's lapses into nonsensical hyperbole, Ms Klein is frequently even more ridiculous.

    If MD's relaxed style and dopey dogs encourage more people to watch and maybe try growing a few runner beans or petunias, then that's a Good Thing generally, surely?

    ETA I'm completely with you on the banana though Obs 

    Last edited: 22 September 2017 16:14:24

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time
    Sir Terry Pratchett
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    I suspect you're right RG and he does maybe make it accessible for beginners.  My problem is that I'm an amateur  who learned masses from watching GH and AT both on GW and their special winter series which seemed to me to be well considered, planned and filmed with accessible info for many kinds of gardener.

    I am very conscious that I haven't learned anything of significance from MD himself in all the years he's been presenting GW and I find his winter series - 80 gardens, French gardens, Italian gardens - badly planned.  Who, in their right mind, plans to film an imperial summer garden in the depths of winter?   It's like planning to film the red deer rutting in April!

    Better than TB tho, over whom I shall quietly gloss but he does still set my teeth on edge whenever they wheel him out at Chelsea.

    The Vendée, France
  • All TV Programmes follow the same lines these days and that is to entertain those who have little knowledge of what they are watching, SCD is one of those which went from correct forms of dancing to light, (very light) entertainment. I have watched gardening programmes from the gardener being in his best suit collar and tie wielding a spade to Monty. Those old time gardeners had learned from their fathers as i learned from mine it was essential to provide food for the family, lawns were to play bowls on at the club the ground could be used more efficiently. I have by watching Monty and reading his books learned things I did not know as I have off other presenters of GW, probably more so because dad's motto was "if you cannot eat it or sell it do not grow it" at that time that was the attitude of all gardeners.

    As an Engineer I had a technical library for reference that gave me every bolt and washer of any machine I worked on, the same with gardening I get my many RHS books out if I need to know a procedure in gardening not seen before, as I suspect many writing on here do, and why not it is why we have those books in the first place. For correct information get the books out, to nose into other peoples gardens watch GW, it is not rocket science.


  • I wonder what he would be like presenting a cookery programme ,  Nigel and Nellie could help in the kitchen ?

    I have his book called The Home Cookbook. It's a very nice book with plain simple recipes that anyone would like to cook and eat.

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