Books

Books : reviews

Monty Don, Sarah Don.
The Jewel Garden: a story of despair and redemption.
Hodder. 2004

This is the story of a garden that has risen from the ashes of a catastrophic failure.

In the mid-Eighties, Monty and Sarah Don’s jewellery design business was the toast of fashionable London. But, like so many entrepreneurs during those heady days, they had overreached themselves and were heading for a fall. Soon they were plunging in a vortex of debt and depression. They lost everything. Monty and Sarah recall this traumatic period with unstinting honesty.

They also tell the magical story of their ‘jewel garden’, a part of their Herefordshire plot that is planted with particularly colourful flowers, and draws on their years in the fashion business. The jewel garden is Monty and Sarah’s means of making peace with their messy past, and a bold expression of their shared passion for life.

Monty Don.
Nigel: my family and other dogs.
Two Roads. 2016

This is a book about love. Love for a particular dog, Nigel, but also for all the dogs that I’ve shared my life with. There have been quite a few over the years and I’ve felt enormous passion and love, friendship and companionship for each one of them. I have always had a dog, or dogs, and I cannot imagine life without them.

Of course, Nigel is special. And Longmeadow is his garden, and that’s the other love story. I’ve made this garden over the last quarter of a century and over the last eight years Nigel has shared it. Every day he’s been out there with me as it’s changed and grown and he’s become a key part of my life. So, this is the story of Nigel, but also the story of gardening, life, and love for those we share our lives with.’

Nigel, the golden retriever, is the star of BBC Gardeners’ World, padding along quietly behind his owner, Monty Don, and yet stealing every scene. Beloved by the public, Nigel gets fan mail, birthday cards and has inspired social media fan sites.

In this heart-warming memoir of Nigel and all the other dogs in his life, Monty Don also explores the special place dogs occupy in our lives and celebrates the deep love we have for them.