Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Gardens: Monty Don.

- Gardens: Monty Don gives a tour of his Herefordshire garden | From the Observer | The Guardian - 6 August 2000

It is difficult to know where to start describing the garden that Monty and his wife, Sarah, have created together since moving into their rambling 15th- to 16th- century farmhouse and adjoining stables in 1992.
For a start, the pathways that link the formal topiary garden at the front of the house with the interlocking herb, vegetable, flower and spring gardens at the back, run through the house.

Looking out from above, you see that it is designed almost as a series of rooms, each one with its own flavour.
There's the long corridor lined with noble alliums on either side.
There's the herb patch, the vegetable garden, the greenhouses, the Jewel Garden at the centre and the orchard trailing into the distance with its perfectly spaced trees - there are 36 varieties of apple.

As well as flowers, there are herbs - great clumps of basil, thyme, marjoram, lovage, parsley, tarragon, sage - and a well-stocked kitchen garden of fruit and vegetables, including broad beans, onions, sweetcorn, strawberries, potatoes, peas and big, juicy marrows.
There are frames crammed with cabbages, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, all ready for planting out.
In the greenhouse, there are leeks, radicchio and peppers.

- Monty Don on Chelsea Flower Show and the "nonsense" of Brexit - Page 2 - May 2016.
The presenter believes Britain leaving the EU is "complete nonsense"
He met his wife Sarah at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and there can be no doubting their rock solid union.
In the 1980s they ran a costume jewellery business with a Knightsbridge shop whose customers included Michael Jackson and Princess Diana, and at weekends tended their Hackney garden.
When the business faltered they took a bridging loan on a derelict Herefordshire farm, where Don gardened so furiously that Sarah told him he was “married” to it.
By the time their three children were born, the business had crashed, the farm was sold, and everything they owned with it.
For two years life was an endless winter of unemployment, before the season began to turn for Don with a gardening segment on breakfast television.
His two sons, Adam and Tom, and daughter Freya are in their mid-to-late twenties now.
Usually Don refuses to speak of them in interviews, but on this occasion serenity takes charge, his face flooded with light.
“We’ve always had a fairly informal relationship. I work with Adam, and speak to him every day as he runs the farm.
He’s lambing at the moment.
The others – I’ll ring up, we chat, share books, music, tell each other what we’ve done and seen.
I can remember my own mother snorting: ‘I don’t want to be your best friend! I’m your mother!’ I was brought up very strictly.
I love my children, I adore them. Would die for them, kill for them. We’re very honest with each other. At times that’s brutal; at others it’s liberating and enlightening.
We are good friends.”

The brief Monty: Life story

1955: Born Montagu Denis Wyatt Don in Berlin, son of an army officer, and the youngest of five children.

1979: At Magdalene College, Cambridge, meets his future wife, Sarah, with whom he elopes. They have three children.

1981: He and Sarah found a costume jewellery business in Kensington and come to count Elton John and Princess Diana among their clients.

1989: He makes his television debut on This Morning in a five-minute gardening slot with Richard and Judy.

1992: The jewellery business folds and he spends three years on the dole.

1994-2006" Writes a gardening column for the Observer.

2003: Succeeding Alan Titchmarsh, Don becomes the first amateur gardener to front Gardeners' World.

2005: Runs Growing out of Trouble, a televised project to help heroin addicts kick their habit by working the land.

2008: Publishes Around the World in 80 Gardens, his 12th gardening title. Becomes president of the Soil Association.

He says: "I have never bought into the school of thought that says gardening is an emollient for the cracked skin of modern life."

They say: 'He was the perfect Gardeners' World presenter, bringing calm, tenderness, immense knowledge and quiet gravitas to television." Nigel Slater
Hermione Hoby

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