7 Reasons to Watch Gardeners’ World w/Monty Don (whether you are a gardener or not)

Mar 17, 2021

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Premiering its 53rd season on BBC’s channel Two, Gardeners’ World, hosted by Monty Don returns this Friday at 9pm. Those of us in the states can find each new episode within a couple of hours on BritBox (I stream BritBox through Amazon Prime).

Late to the pleasure of viewing this long-running gardening program, as the saying goes, it is better late than never. And while I am VERY late, I am ever so grateful to TSLL readers for introducing to me this beloved program. Beginning to tune in last March just as the pandemic began, I looked forward each week to a new episode (a new one airs every Friday running from the third Friday in March to the middle of October).

For many TSLL readers, you know this program well, so what I am about to share won’t be new information, but to anyone unfamiliar or curious about why the love for this British gem endures, let me begin with Monty.

As the show premiered in 1968, with the lead host being Ken Burras, the baton has been passed to more than a handful of gentleman, but not much more than a handful. Geoff Hamilton (1976-1996) hosted for the longest duration with Monty Don matching his tenure and will be surpassing Hamilton becoming the longest serving lead host as he just renewed a three-year contract beginning this season.

Monty Don, the host since 2003 (with a three year hiatus) greets viewers each episode in Longmeadow, his garden situated on two acres he and his wife Sarah purchased in 1991 in Herefordshire, England, located on the southeastern border of Wales. Sharing a handful of segments in his own garden as the seasons unfold, cohosts (Adam Frost, Carol Klein, Nick Bailey, Frances Tophill, Arit Anderson and Joe Swift are the most frequent, but there are many more) and contributors take viewers to other parts of England, interview an array of everyday gardeners as well as visit National Trust gardens and National collections of prized plants and educate the viewers as well as provide a tranquil virtual escape to the countryside of England.

All of this is to say, I will be tuning in this weekend as Gardeners’ World is one of my favorite simple luxuries and weekly rituals for three of the four seasons of the year. Whether you are a gardener or not, I think you might enjoy tuning in as well. Today I would like to share with you seven reasons to travel to England and escape to the garden.

So, just like Norman, let’s dig in!

1.Monty’s Pups

Whether you garden or not, part of the cosyness offered by Gardeners’ World are the moments Monty shares with his pups. Whether following him around on the many paths winding through his different gardens, chasing a ball as Nigel greatly loved (see below) and who will be dearly missed this season and Nell continues to enjoy (see below), or watching petite Patti tap dance throughout the garden beds (or sleeping in the salad green beds in the greenhouse as seen below in a recent pic shared on Monty’s instagram page), the pups remind us to be present, to savor and to be awed by the natural world, as well as the importance of kindness and playfulness.

2. Deepen the love for each of the seasons

Walking viewers through the seasons in his own garden, I as a student appreciate the visuals which while books are wonderful, seeing Monty and his cohosts model not only what a plant looks like, but how to care for it and knowing what it needs and why builds the enthusiasm that I too can welcome the natural beauty into my yard year-round in one way or another (no matter how large or small my plot of land or window sill may be).

3. Learning how to work and appreciate the garden and climate you have

Monty is an organic gardener and while he has greenhouses, he grows what the climate in Herefordshire supports. Admittedly, while I would love to grow a lemon tree, it will just never happen in Bend, Oregon. Appreciating what I can grow, learning how to care for it well and celebrating what others can grow in their unique climate is a lesson for life: Nurture your talents, nurture your strengths and celebrate the gifts of others as well. We all have something beautiful to share with the world.

4. Build your confidence in sowing your own seeds, making gardening more affordable

Readers of TSLL may remember I sowed my first seeds last spring and was beyond delighted when the herbs I cannot find in nurseries locally began to sprout! (Check out the tutorial post sharing 12 steps for successful sowing of seeds here.) Regularly Monty and his cohosts are sowing seeds, and simply seeing this practice in action makes it less intimidating. No fancy accoutrements, no excessive money spent, and because they show you what to sow year-round, you learn how to keep your garden blooming and producing throughout the seasons as well. Needless to say, you too can have a bounty of vegetables, fruit and blooms without paying the prices you would have to if you purchased the plant full grown.

5. A reminder to savor each day and welcome your garden into your daily routine

While yes, Monty is the master gardener who has a seemingly innate passion and talent for gardening, he also has a lovely, sweet charm and wit about him. From standing by a tulip bed and wishing Nigel a happy 10th birthday, to mentioning dancing under a disco ball he and his wife have in his house and may or may not dance about under from time to time, to suggesting a simple recipe for steamed rhubarb and how he enjoys it with yogurt, you are reminded how the garden can and in order to be fully appreciated must be “integrated into your household and your life”.

As a writer, my favorite of his books aside from the Gardening How-Tos, is A French Garden Journey: A lovely personal journey through the many gardens of France – A French Garden Journey (2014).

6. Learn more about the plants, flowers, and edibles you love (and be introduced to new ones)

Sure you can pick up a book to answer questions you might have about different varietals, plants and vegetables or fruits, but seeing the plant actually growing during the time of year when it reaches its zenith, seeing what can be paired or partnered with it, seeing what can precede it or follow it, each episode weaves in kernels of wisdom, ideas and inspiration. Not only for someone who loves to garden, but for how we eat, what cut flowers we bring into our homes and when they will be at their peak flavor.

7. Seasonal tasks to tend to – an inspiring teacher and coach

I will admit, I absolutely enjoy the entire episode each week, but much like the Petit Plaisir at the end of my podcast, Monty’s Weekly Jobs list shared at the end of each episode is something I eagerly anticipate. “Okay Monty, what do I need to get to work on this weekend?” 🙂 As much as I would like to think I would remember in the years to come as I tend to my garden and see it mature, there is so much to remember and life is full with other things throughout the year not to forget. The regular bookend at the conclusion is a helpful planner of sorts keeping me and I have a feeling many other viewers on task to ensure the best potential for a lovely garden.

And did you hear? Monty Don updated his The Complete Gardener book this spring (see right) which was first published in 2003. Described as “the most comprehensive, practical, and highly illustrated book Monty has ever written, it covers what he believes are the most important aspects of gardening. Organic techniques have always been at the core of his practice, but this new edition picks up on another key principle: the need to provide habitats in your garden for local wildlife. Over half of the photographs in this new edition will be new, taken over a year in his Longmeadow garden, and he is going through the text with a fine-tooth comb to ensure everything he says reflects his latest approach.”

Recently, The New York Times spotlighted Gardeners World sharing how the show continued to produce a weekly episode throughout all of 2020 during the pandemic, and the amazing truth is they did. With robotic video cameras, a multitude of wires and other mechanisms to enable Monty to essentially film himself, the show went on, and I, like so many other viewers were incredibly grateful they figured how to record new episodes as we all spent more time in our gardeners last year. While I certainly fell in love with gardening last year and was given the time to really figure out how to begin gardening due to the pandemic, I cannot wait to continue with the hobby this year and aprés pandemic. As I shared in this post, 10 Things Gardening Can Teach Us About Living Well, gardening shifts living our quality of life in the best possible of ways. Helping us to become more present, more appreciative and yes, more patient, gardening most importantly for my life, brings me to a place of calm peace.

So, yep, I cannot wait for this Friday to roll around. Likely I will save the first episode as I do for all episodes until Saturday morning when I can watch with the sunrise, sip a hot cuppa and upon concluding the episode, hop up and head out into the garden to tend to my Weekend Jobs.

Wishing you wonderful moments in your own garden or however you spend time with Mother Nature savoring the seasons.

~Listen to Monty Don talk about the Health Benefits of Gardening in the premiere episode of Gardeners’ World podcast.

HOW TO WATCH:

  • BBC Two, Friday at 9pm (start times vary each week)
  • BritBox, shortly after the original airing on the BBC ($6.99/mo or $69.99/yr).
  • Amazon Prime, search Gardeners’ World, season 53 (past seasons are available to be viewed as well), each episode is available by Friday evening shortly after it airs in England.

~Read more TSLL Gardening posts here.

~Become a TOP Tier subscriber to read each of the gardening posts shared in this post and shared below.


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32 thoughts on “7 Reasons to Watch Gardeners’ World w/Monty Don (whether you are a gardener or not)

  1. How funny that you should write about Monty Don today as I just listened to episode 1 of Monty’s interview with BBC’s Gardener’s World Magazine Podcast today (and so LOVED it – thanks for the recommendation!) and also saw the same IG post of Patti sleeping peacefully in a future bed of salad greens. The first introduction to Monty for me was in a show about the gardens of France on Netflix a couple of years ago. I am just beginning to “dabble” in gardening, so he brings a wealth of knowledge, as do you.

    Have you heard of GreenPrints, “The Weeder’s Digest?” It’s a delightful magazine of sorts filled with short essays and stories written by gardeners for gardeners. It’s like chicken soup for the soul…a warm cuppa milk before bed….a bandaid to heal a not so great day. I love reading it at night before bedtime as it reminds me of how beautiful and valuable the little things really are in life.

    1. Wasn’t that interview wonderful! I will link it here if anyone else wants to listen. Absolutely worth it.
      https://www.gardenersworld.com/podcast/monty-don-on-the-health-benefits-of-gardening/

      You know I received one issue of Greenprints and it definitely piqued my curiosities. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂

      Oh, wasn’t Monty’s garden tours in France lovely? Such a lovely way to travel from the house without the expense. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. My favourite programme to start the weekend !
    I’m so glad you love it too.
    Enjoy your garden Shanon .
    Here in the UK , Spring has arrived, with the early cherry blossom in flower, and the hawthorn hedges in bud , drifts of daffodils, primula and violas in flower , and tulip bulbs just waiting in the wings .
    I’m in the North West, so Monty’s garden is usually ahead of mine ( it is also very much larger ! I just have a small patio, so lots of growing in pots , but a lovely ‘ borrowed landscape ‘ to enjoy as well )
    Best Wishes for a lovely day
    Anne

    1. Spring is sounds beautiful in England Anne! Thank you for painting a picture for us. 🙂 A borrowed landscape! Such a gem to treasure. So happy for you and wishing you wonderful moments gardening this year. xo

      1. Hello Sue , lovely to ‘see’ you 🙂 my youngest son and his little family live in Manchester too, sadly, no garden, just a little back yard , but they have started growing a few things in pots, and my little grandson, (who will be five next month ) has just grown some of the cress seeds I sent him, ( with help from Daddy ) he’s very thrilled to see them sprouting , but not too sure about eating them !
        Enjoy your daffodils 🙂 how are your hostas after the winter ?
        Have a lovely weekend , enjoy Gardeners World 🌸🌿🦋
        Best Wishes, Anne

    2. Hello Anne i’m In the Nort East so we’re even further behind with just a few daffs out! I grow plants for my daughter in Manchester and am amazed at the earlier times they flourish. It is my lifelong quest to encourage her to enjoy her small garden, a treasure in the city. Best wishes, Sue.

  3. Thank you for sharing, Shannon! I just started a new season yesterday and can’t wait to start the spring work in my own garden.

  4. So excited for new episodes & a new season!!! In my part of New England, we are a few weeks behind Monty’s area, so this will be extra inspirational. The first daffodil shoots are barely poking out of the soil here. No forsythia yet and no sign of tree leaves. But soon!!

    Does anyone know where to find Gardeners World monthly magazine? Before the pandemic, I used to find issues in Barnes & Noble. I have not found any since. I’d rather not opt for the yearly subscription at this time, though I wonder if that is even available given all of the issues with mail delivery.

    Happy Spring & Autumn!!!!

    1. Debby, New England sounds similar to where Bend is. 🙂 I wish I could help with where to find the magazine for sale for single issues. I know you can read it on your Kindle and sometimes small independent bookshops have had it here in Oregon. Hopefully someone will share where they have found it. 🙂
      Enjoy the first episode of the season!

  5. I cannot express more fully how much I agree with everything written here! I eagerly anticipate the return of GW and Monty & co this weekend. I too will watch it early Saturday morning in peace and quiet with a brew (my husband doesn’t appreciate the show like I do so I shall watch whilst he is still in bed) and my favourite part of the programme is also “jobs for the weekend” for the same reasons you share. I’m happy that this year every single episode will be 1 whole hour too!
    Happy viewing and gardening !
    Sarah x

    1. Sarah, I saw that too! One full hour for the first episode which is usually 30 minutes until the spring season jumps into full gear. This was such a lovely surprise to see! Wishing you a happy Saturday morning and weekend in the garden! 🙂

  6. Hi Shannon,

    I love this post and have added it to my list to watch. Another British gardening show that one can view for free on Amazon is called Grow, Cook, Eat.

    I also wanted to say that I grow my own lemon tree indoors, and it has done fantastically! I bought a dwarf lemon tree that was self-pollinating and with a grow light, it has produced fruit year-round! Just wanted to share in case you were still interested in having a lemon tree 🙂

    Lisette

  7. I will have to have a look at this show. Many years ago our local PBS station aired The Victory Garden hosted by a cute little older fella who was full of garden wisdom. I was out tonight checking the dirt to see if it’s too wet to turn in my beds, have started some of my seeds and hoping to get a large pile of manure moved!!

    1. Dear MPound,

      I miss the Victory Garden too! I loved watching James Crockett with my dad when I was growing up. I wish the show was still on!

    2. I do think you will enjoy it, especially if you enjoyed Victory Garden. I wish we had an American gardening show similar to Gardeners’ World, I am just tickled we have access to enjoy with the British and delight in this wonderful offering. Sounds like you are heading into spring with a good start! Wishing your seeds great success and have fun playing in the dirt. 🙂

  8. I discovered Gardners’ World 4 years ago. I always loved the soothing slow pace style of the show. It actually helped my husband alot when he came back from his deployment with the army. Every night I would make he and myself a cup of tea and put the show on. He has some PTSD and the show was one thing that would help. It actually inspired him to get outside and garden as well. Nature is therapy. He has come along way and I owe so much of it to the show.

    1. Fallon, thank you for sharing how soothing the show can be, and so happy to hear how therapeutic and inspiring it can be. You are right – Nature is therapy in more ways that we may fully understand. Thank you again.

  9. Thank you for this lovely post, Shannon. I absolutely adore Monty Don’s easy style and comforting gardening shows. I don’t think I could have gotten through last year without his various shows and books. I’m reading A French Garden Journey now, and it is delightful. I particularly like his insights on the cultural differences between French and English people and their gardens. Here in the southeast US, we have blooming daffodils, pear trees, and now my cherry tree is budding. I’m looking forward to Gardening World’s new season, and catching up with the older seasons too!

    1. Cannon, Yes, the observations of the differences is most interesting and Monty being British helps to solidify what an outsider may observe but not fully understand or feel comfortable expressing. 🙂
      Your description of your garden sounds quite lovely. What beauty you are enjoying. Thank you for sharing with us all, and enjoy the premiere episode this weekend!

  10. So glad our friends in the US like this show as well. We will be watching it at 9.00pm tonight as the early spring flowers are coming. Even my brother watches the show and he is not a gardener.

  11. I love Monty’s gentle style and particularly enjoy the sections on RHS and NT gardens to visit. I also love to listen to the radio whilst pottering in the kitchen and another BBC favourite is Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4. I don’t know if you can access the BBC Sounds app but it’s well worth a weekly listen. Happy Spring Equinox.

  12. I can’t find the new episode of season 53 on Amazon Prime! I subscribe to BritBox but the episode doesn’t seem to be there! I’ve been waiting all winter and want to watch it!! Can you explain/help?

  13. So my wife loves this show and we can’t find the 53rd season on britbox. I guess it is not loaded yet?

    1. I have good news. 🙂 Make sure you are using the Britbox app (not in Amazon Prime). Search Gardeners’ World (or just Gardeners’), don’t forget the apostrophe after the “s” (I made this mistake (no apostrophe)), and nothing popped up. As soon as I placed the apostrophe, there it was!
      I do hope you and she both enjoy! Thank you for stopping by the blog. 🙂

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