Monty Don heartbreak: How gardener ‘lost it all’ before breaking into broadcasting

Monty Don has become something of a gardening legend. He has presented the BBC’s Gardeners’ World since 2003 – then moving it exclusively to his Herefordshire home in 2011 where he still hosts the show.

In 2014, he was appointed as one of the main hosts of the famous Chelsea Flower Show.

With this year’s show cancelled, participants instead showed-off their displays from their own homes.

Monty presented a slew of shows last week, adding in gardening tips and tricks along the way.

He did not, however, ever intend to enter a career of TV gardening.

In the Eighties, he and his wife Sarah set up a costume jewellery business.

Disillusioned with London living and the weight of a business, Monty and Sarah jumped ship and bought a house in Herefordshire with land.

This was the beginning of their troubles.

Their previous London home had not sold, and there was still a business to be run.

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The business fell apart and Monty, almost ignoring the world around him, gardened their New Hereford home so relentlessly Sarah described him as having been “married” to it.

A loan to buy a farm and subsequent crash of the business left Monty and his family in severe debt and near-bankruptcy.

For two years their unemployment was deep rooted.


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At the end of a jobless season, Monty struck gold and managed a slot on a TV gardening segment in the early Nineties.

During a 2016 Radio Times interview, Monty reflected on how close he had come to losing it all.

He said: “I still think about when we lost everything.

“Once you’ve had that experience, you know that what seems like an impregnable position can disappear overnight.

“Mine is a big operation to keep running, and it’s fuelled by me.

“That said, my mental health has been great the last few years.

“I am very well and happy. I have an incredibly good marriage and lovely children.

“I do a job that is jolly tiring and I work very hard, but I really enjoy it and I think I’m quite good at it.”

Although enduring a momentary fall to the bottom, Monty has since rebuilt himself, his family, and his career.

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