Monty Don’s heartbreaking final moments with loved one: ‘It’s real grief’

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Monty, the UK’s gardening godfather, has been making the rounds in recent weeks, promoting his new book, ‘My Garden World: The Natural Year’. 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 the gardener witnesses year-on-year – the colours, the smells, and the animals that come and go, and who call his garden home.

He is known to be an animal lover, his golden retrievers and other pets often making cameo appearances during his main presenting slot on BBC Gardeners’ World.

Nigel, who became a star of the show, sadly passed away early this year near the beginning of lockdown.

It was a time of great mourning for the broadcasting veteran.

He divulged some of his pain during a Times interview, telling of his last moments with Nigel.

He said: “The only good thing is that he had a long life, a happy life, and no illness.

“He suddenly started fitting one night and it got worse and worse and he had a brain tumour and that was it.

“He had gone to bed happy and was dead by midday the next day.

“It wasn’t slow or drawn out.”

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It was, Monty explained, the sort of death we all hope for.

He continued: “It’s a proper bereavement.

“It’s true love and, as with losing anyone you love, it’s real grief.”

Monty admitted that he wept copiously.

Monty’s 2016 book ‘Nigel: My family and other dogs’ recounts how Nigel rose to fame and had something of a fan club – he even has his own wikipedia page.


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Monty even claimed that without Nigel, his newest book wouldn’t have been a thing.

He explained that his 2016 title sold so well his publishers wanted more.

However, about a third of the way into a new book about Nigel and dogs in general, he said he felt it was too hard to sustain a book about a loved one he had just lost.

Instead, what Monty’s fans are now privy to is a whole selection of wildlife and nature.

The gardener has previously taken to social media several times to wish Nigel farewell.

In July, he posted an old picture he had found of Nigel and his other dog, Neil.

In the caption, he wrote: “Found this from last year. They made a good pair. Miss the old chap.”

Nigel was “suddenly taken ill” in May.

In the same month, Monty shared with his Instagram followers the sad news.

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.”

Nigel was buried with 20 tennis balls and some of his favourite biscuits.

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