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Monty Don has become the godfather of the garden. After 17 years fulfilling the main presenting slot on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World, the 65-year-old has made a place for himself in the hall of horticultural fame. His work hasn’t stopped at Gardeners’ World.
On top of a presenting job he took at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in 2014, Monty has also commissioned a string of his own spin-off shows.
In 2019, he travelled around Japan through spring and autumn in search of the country’s most beautiful oriental garden.
Prior to this, his ‘Around the World in 80 Gardens’ saw him journey across the globe in search of much of the same thing.
A life spent in the natural world has made for a deep connection to the outdoors and nature.
When comparing his own relationship to nature with that of others, Monty worries that the human race is losing touch with its roots; forgetting about the great outdoors.
He revealed his fears to the BBC in an interview earlier this week, telling of how his visits to cities now “shock” him.
He explained: “I live in the middle of the country, but whenever I’m in a city, the thing I notice most – and which shocks me most – is how many people are walking along with headphones in, looking at a phone.
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“They’re not noticing anything at all – the weather, the sky, any other sounds.
“And that has to be bad for you.
“It has to be.
“I think the great lesson to be learned is opening ourselves up, pay attention to what is actually going on.”
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He warned that we are “becoming divorced from nature”.
Monty, who has been writing and appearing in TV shows about gardening since the Eighties, said: “We’d see these fabulous programmes on television, showing the plight of the snow leopard, or the melting glaciers.
“And because they’re so good, and so interesting, it becomes fixed – it becomes something that’s happening elsewhere.
“What I want to stress is that wildlife and nature and the environment is here, on your back door, now – outside your window.”
His worries coincide with his new book, ‘My Garden World’.
In it, Monty pays homage to his sprawling Herefordshire garden through the seasons.
Readers are taken and placed at the centre of the changes that Monty witnesses year-on-year – the colours, smells, and animals that call his garden home.
Although Monty now enjoys relative success, there was a point in the late Eighties where his life arrived at a crossroads.
It came when he and his wife Sarah nearly went bankrupt after getting a loan to buy a farm and the subsequent crash of their London jewellery business left Monty and his family in severe debt.
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 and has since gone on to firmly establish himself as one of Britain’s best-known gardeners.
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