The Full Monty

As Teza could probably tell you, I am in love/lust with Monty Don.

It is a combination of things about him. First, is his love for his wife. He never hesitates to proclaim it, always insisting that she has made him the man he is today. (Ian, are you listening)

And he always makes you think that he is talking directly to you (what? the power of television).  And how sexy is it to have a man interested in gardening with you.


I have every book that Monty and Sarah Don have written (and now, Around the World in 80 Gardens, thank you Teza). Their  newest book is entitled The Ivington Diaries.  It is based on journals that Monty kept over the years from 1995 – 2005. 

I have always had a bit of a thing for diaries. From Roy Strongs, through Harold Nicolsons, and James Lees-Milne, I guess it is the voyeur in me. everyone’s lives sounds so fascinating, (or do they just embellish them, knowing they will be published one day).

I could not even conceive keeping a journal about my garden on a daily basis. For one thing, from November to March, it would say only one thing, Snow! For example, on January 9,1999, he was weeding. I can’t even see the ground in January, never mind weed.

But, I love the book. It is like have a sit down and a long conversation about gardening. You will learn something and not even realize you did.

38 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    fairegarden said,

    We love Monty Don too, Deborah. A friend loaned me a book by him, and I was hooked. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. 3

    I’ve read Monty Don, but never seen him on television because I shun HGTV (where I assume he puts in an appearance). Now I will have to look for him! Thanks for the recommendation, Deborah!

  3. 5

    Joy said,

    Deborah , I have become a fan as well … and I loved the book “Around the World ..” I had seen most of the shows too .. the book was Teza’s gift give away and it was such a TREAT !
    The lack of Canadian garden shows makes me so disgusted .. this big beautiful country can’t produce a decent garden show when all that other garbage is on TV ?? I think we should form our own production shouldn’t we ? LOL
    PS .. yes .. I know .. the winter months could be a problem but we can play with that issue .. right ??

    • 6

      That Teza was a clever cookie wasn’t he. Talk about the way to a womans heart, a good looking man who loves gardening, maybe he thinks that Monty is similar to himself, lol.
      It is terrible about the lack of Canadian gardening content, I think that we will have to do something about it!

  4. 7

    Edith Hope said,

    Dear D, I should love to share your view of Monty Don but, alas, I cannot. I do not doubt that he loves his wife – that is my one, positive thought about him but, having met him briefly [in the flesh!] on one occasion, I did not care for him.

    The other diaries you mention are an entirely different matter, and all highly entertaining if in very different ways. James Lees-Milne’s are possibly my favourite not least because so much of what he writes about belongs to my childhood and he is deliciously gossipy.

    As for your own diary, it is here. And you do not write about snow each day but rather keep us all enthralled with a huge variety of interesting topics.

    • 8

      Edith, I am very sorry to hear about your “Monty” encounter. how unfortunate.
      You are so right, this blog is my diary, (at least, what I want publicly known), lol. I do keep a personal journal as well, just a few lines. It is amazing to look back at what you were doing on the same day, years ago.
      I do like J. L-M’s, I found it very difficult to purchase in Canada, but completed my collection when I lived in London.

  5. 9

    Teza said,


    I should like to ask where you were able to procure ‘The Irvington Diaries’ as I have been told that it is not available here in…… oh, you are royalty after all, so I suppose you have connections in jolly old England I suppose? The format looks stunning, with the plum bookmark dangling down like so…

    Interestingly, there seems to be a deal of Monty backlash at the moment. A new show in England about farming has received scathing reviews, but then again, when you have your nose buried in one of his books, the rest of the world disappears completely! This has been a week of ‘plugs’ to Teza’s Garden…. thanks dearheart!

    What is the weather like in your neck of the woods today? Looks downright blizzardish here, and out for dinner with the gardeners of ‘The Shaded Sanctuary’ this evening….. whatever shall I wear?


    • 10

      Sorry, I ordered it from the UK, never stand between me and a book I want! I have read the bad reviews on his new television project, not that would stop ,me from viewing, if it is ever available in Canada.
      Very cold in Owen Sound, not wanting to venture outdoors, with wallpaper to strip, at least I am keeping out of trouble, lol.

  6. 11

    Joanne said,

    Here here. He is a wonderful presenter and since he left Gardeners World I have just stopped watching them.

    I very much enjoyed reading his Jewel Garden and noticed his new book in the shop just before my birthday, I didn’t buy it in case someone bought it as a present but tomorrow on my trip to town it is on my list to buy.

  7. 13

    I think I need to read some more books…I have not heard of them before, but if your reaction is any indication, I will love them :^)

  8. 15

    miss m said,

    Oh, I’d be totally lost without my fabulous British television gardening programmes ! I haven’t seen a Canadian or American show that rivals with any of the British shows. I fondly remember watching ‘Ground Force’ back in the day and must credit the team for sparking my interest in gardening (Love Alan & co. !) HGTV used to play (and still does at times) a few British series, but I don’t wait around for HGTV anymore. I’m a member of a British torrent site and get all the shows I want. Big fan of Gardeners’ World. I don’t miss an episode. I also get to see great flower shows: Chelsea, Tatton, Hampton Court. It’s paradise !

    I love Monty. I adored ‘Around the world in 80 gardens’. I’m presently enjoying ‘My Dream Farm’, a new series that started last week. I’m ‘chuffed to bits’ to see him back on TV !

  9. 17

    Wendy said,

    Such provocative titles Deborah! I also enjoy reading books in a diary format. Sounds interesting…I will check it out!

  10. 19

    I have not heard of Monty Don before, but his books sound very interesting, I will try to have a look at them.

  11. 21

    I haven’t read these books but will have to check them out, based on your recommendation! I have often wished I kept a garden journal but haven’t wished it hard enough to actually do it. Probably my blog will be the closest I get.

  12. 23

    leavesnbloom said,

    I really miss him on the BBC Gardeners World tv programme – when he was on each week I never missed an episode. I have to confess that I have never read one of his books ………… YET! I think I might have to make a few purchases.

  13. 25

    Kyna Adams said,

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who hasn’t heard of Monty Don lol.

    I found the comment by Edith Hope very interesting. It’s funny how a lot of people can love a famous figure, and then the one person who’s met him says he’s not all he’s cracked up to be lol.

    I work at Barnes & Noble, very near to where Nicholas Sparks lives. He’s been into my store. All of his fans love him, but he’s actually pretty arrogant to the booksellers, and gets upset if you don’t fawn all over him lol.

    I’ll have to check up on Mr. Don 🙂

    • 26

      It just goes to show you that you only see what people let you see. I am sure that a lot less “stars” would be admired if fans really knew them.
      Do check out Montys books though, they are an interesting read, and thank you for visiting my blog. Hope to see you back again soon.

  14. 27

    Well I confess to never having heard of this writer/tv personality… gee where have I been… a call to my library and soon I will know all. As to your writing your own garden journal Deborah… I so enjoy it each time I visit your blog. Beautiful illustrations too! ;>) Carol

    • 28

      Thank you Carol, you are very kind. It is great to check out books at the library. Sometimes I will do that, and then decide that I have to buy them as well. I hope that you enjoy Montys.

  15. 29

    Grace said,

    Hello Deborah~~ I’m once again behind on blog reading. Your full Monty sounds interesting. I like people who elicit a strong response in others. Good or bad it makes for entertainment. Of course I’ve never heard of Monty on this side of the world. Sounds like I’m missing out. Maybe I’ll try to find him online. Just what I need, yet another distraction. Oh the guilty pleasure. Isn’t “Teza” a hoot?

  16. 31

    Janie said,

    I had never heard of him, until I read about him here. I will have to get some of his books and see what I think too.

  17. 33

    elephant's eye said,

    I missed the TV programme and the book. But I did visit one of the 80 gardens. Today’s post. Over a year ago, but I still remember it vividly. (You could start a Monty Don’s 80 Gardens meme here Deborah??)

  18. 35

    Kassie said,

    Oh!! I’ve been wondering who [m?] to read first: James Lees-Milne or Harold Nicholson….which do you think? Love your blog, as always. I haven’t ever read a Monty Don book, but I do have a glorious photograph of him hugging some plume poppies. I confess I cut it out for the plants, not the man, but now I’ll reconsider!
    Best of winter wishes!

    • 36

      Kassie, both are amazing to read, but I would start with Harold (see what good terms we are on, I call him by his first name, lol). He is in three volumes and I found it far easier to find then James L-M. Some of his I had to buy when I lived in the UK. Check out Monty too, he can be quite funny.

  19. 37

    The Jewel Garden is still my favorite. The Diaries is such a big book that I am making my way through it very slowly. I have not been keeping my paper garden diaries since I started blogging. I did a lot of planning and evaluating in the winter and found there was more to write about than I initially imagined living in a cold, snowy climate.

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