Monty Don: TV gardener’s furious attack on Tories amid green space row exposed

Monty Don has been the welcome face of the BBC’s Gardeners’ World for 17 years. He took over the main presenting role in 2003, and eight years later started to host the programme permanently from his sprawling Herefordshire home.

Always an avid gardener, what has become Monty’s real-life job is something of a dream.

Yet, this line of work wasn’t always what he had in mind.

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.

Shortly after, their business fell apart and, as if attempting to escape the realities of life, Monty gardened their new 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.

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

From this point on, Monty rose through the ranks of the horticultural world and was able to rebuild himself and his family.

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His passion for gardening has opened up channels into other areas of work; for example, he spent a seven-year tenure as president of the Soil Association, meeting Cabinet ministers and even spoke before Parliamentary committees.

The experiences with politicians and government has left Monty unafraid to speak out against the powers that be.

This was especially true during a 2016 interview with Radio Times, in which Monty condemned the government for ignoring the need for public green spaces and front gardens in built-up areas as a result of poor public transport, among other things.

He said: “Our urban areas are obviously less green than 20 years ago, because more people and cars are taking up the space.


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“When I lived in London in the Eighties, perhaps two houses on my street had made their front garden into a driveway.

“Most households had one car, and twentysomethings weren’t living back with their parents, unable to afford anything else.

“Front gardens are a shared public space, part of the street.

“If a car is parked there, it’s simply a place we arrive at and depart from, not where we stay.

“That’s a real shame.

“It’s a price we pay for the society we want.

“The only way around it is to reduce the number of cars, therefore better public transport infrastructure would improve front gardens.

“We must use more brownfield sites, and it’s not beyond the wit of design to construct newbuilds to accommodate gardens and cars.”

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