Monty Don: Why Gardeners’ World host ‘feels like black sheep’ at Chelsea Flower Show

Best known for his slot as presenter on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World, Monty Don has become something of a green-fingered legend. He has presented the show coming up to 17 years – since 2003 – and viewers were invited into the comfort of his home from theirs in 2011 when Monty started to host Gardeners’ World from his Herefordshire abode.

In 2014, Monty became the lead presenter for the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage.

Unfortunately for him and the rest of the UK, the show has been cancelled for the first time since World War 2.

The coronavirus outbreak has forced observers of the show to skip the year.

Many participants are at a loss, having intricately prepared their flowers and displays for over a year.

Monty offered some hope, however, as he revealed earlier this month: “[The show is] happening, just not quite as we know it.”

He is set to present the show from his home on various days.

Despite his relevant prestige and high-ranking status in the world of flower enthusiasts, Monty revealed during a 2016 interview with Radio Times how he often feels like a “black-sheep” at the events he attends and presents.

In a humbling admission, he revealed: “I still feel like a black sheep-ish 25-year-old.

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“At the Chelsea Flower Show it’s all so terribly grown-up that I find myself thinking: ‘Gosh. I’m with the grown-ups.’

“And then I realise I’m older than a lot of them.

“But you just have to stop thinking about age.”

To much of the nation’s surprise, Monty is now 64 years old – many having followed his methods and tips for nearly 20 years.


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Those ardent fans will have come to know Nigel, Monty’s golden retriever.

Last week, Monty broke the tragic news that his golden retriever had died after being taken “suddenly ill”.

In an Instagram post, he wrote: “To the end he was happy, healthy and his usual calm, lovely self.

“He slipped quietly away with no pain or suffering and is now buried in the garden with lots of tennis balls.”

Since the turn of the century Monty has enjoyed a relatively hassle-free stint as the presenter of Gardeners’ World.

In 2012, however, he momentarily had a falling out with the corporation, over a dispute about his techniques in ridding plants of pests.

His advice, “to hand-pick them and then destroy them” enraged pesticide manufacturers, their criticism of him for not mentioning that their products could also remove the insect.

Instead of backing their man up, the BBC assured his critics: “Monty often mentions non-organic alternatives and we will endeavour to ensure this is more consistent in future.”

Monty, who is president of the Soil Association, voiced his outrage at the BBC’s move.

He said the statement had “irritated” him, adding: “It is a classic case of the BBC not wanting to offend anyone and trying to be fair and reasonable – but at the same time getting it wrong.

“It is nonsense, because there is nothing here that they need to defend.”

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