Monty Don’s ‘split life’ as TV gardener’s ‘glamorous past’ comes to light

Gardeners' World: Monty Don gives advice for growing gherkins

Fans of BBC Gardeners’ World would have recoiled at the approach of the winter months as it meant an end to the 2020 series, with the harsh, cold, and wet weather wholly opposed to what it takes for a garden to flourish. Monty Don is probably the show’s best-known host, each episode revealing some quirk or nugget of knowledge on horticulture. He has presented the show for 17 years, from 2011 hosting it from his sprawling Herefordshire home’s garden.

The winter months offer little in the way of gardening opportunities, so Monty has to fill the cold and dark days with many non-gardening related jobs.

This isn’t ideal for someone who lives and breathes horticulture, and the very nature of winter is something that pierces deep in Monty, as he has previously explained.

Luckily for fans, the BBC is airing a special two-parter Gardeners’ World, with Monty and the team reflecting on the tough year that was 2020, offering a selection of highlights from the lockdown series.

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While Monty’s life now revolves around gardening, he and his wife Sarah were famous for something some might describe as more chic in a past life.

In the Eighties, Monty had a separate identity, with his glamorous past life brought to the fore during ITV’s Lorraine last year.

Talking to Monty, Lorraine said: “Now, you are a very interesting man, and I had no idea in another life you used to make jewellery.

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“And not just for anybody, but for royalty and proper A-listers.”

Shedding his usual humble aura, Monty proceeded to name drop a few of the stars he made bespoke pieces for some 30 years ago.

He said: “Yeah, we made jewellery, Sarah and I made jewellery and it was successful in the Eighties.


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“We made jewellery for Princess Diana, for Michael Jackson, Elton John, I made a pair of cufflinks for David Bowie – we did films.

“We did a lot, and it was good fun while it lasted.”

The business, as Monty alluded to, came tumbling to its knees following the US stock market crash of 1987.

At near bankruptcy, the pair lost their treasured home, a 35-acre estate in Herefordshire, and by 1992 they were living in a rat-infested house with no heating, along with their two small children, Monty on the dole.

It was at this point that Sarah said Monty was “married” to his garden – he would spend hours working furiously on every inch of the outside space.

She threatened to leave him unless he saw a doctor, to which Monty obliged and began seeing a psychotherapist.

In the Mid-Nineties, he bounced back after being given a few gardening columns in various newspapers.

Following his appearance in a few gardening segments for the BBC, Monty had his breakthrough in 2003 when the broadcaster asked him to present Gardeners’ World.

He hasn’t looked back since.

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