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The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption
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The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  437 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The face of British gardening Monty Don and his wife Sarah tell the magical story of the garden they have built over the last decade THE JEWEL GARDEN is the story of the garden that over the past decade has bloomed from the muddy fields around the Dons' Tudor farmhouse, a perfect metaphor for the Monty and Sarah's own rise from the ashes of a spectacular commercial ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published 2005 by Hodder and Stoughton (first published September 13th 2004)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
”A wave of intense sadness soaked through me. I felt completely alone. I sat quietly for a minute or two gathering myself, unable to move, letting the storm pass. All day I filmed amongst the seeds, knowing that I was not well, knowing that this was not good, knowing that if I let go, I might never put the pieces back together again.

I drove home, a grown man sobbing on the motorway, and got back to the empty house. I rang Sarah and from the other side of the country she lovingly talked me down,
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and it means so much to me. I read it the first time and could recognise the signs in myself of suffereing from depression but thought "that's ok but I can't just dwell on it". I then re-read it when I suffered a nervous breakdown and it was just as meaningful but even more helpful. The Don's use the garden as both a metaphor and a therapy. It helped me find some foci in life away from the things driving my problems. A must read for anybdoy.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I had a growing love for Monty Don after a season of Gardener's World, but after reading this book, I am a convert. It was a well-timed read, as I've just gotten my very first garden space and have been working hard to turn it into a beautiful spot, and I've been learning so much more about plants, so I felt like this book fed into that burgeoning knowledge well. I liked this book's candor and the arc of it, between the lows of depression and debt to the highs of getting Longmeadow and ...more
Ashley Person
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. I'm not a gardener, but I love nature books and I really enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the garden as well as the memoir of their exploits in the jewelry business. Although I wish there had been more details about the day to day running of it. I also wish there had been more pictures although it was great that the ones in the book were in color.
Patrick Carroll
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked the first half of the book which provided good insight into the trials and tribulations of Monty and Sarah during the late '80s and was engagingly written. Monty's openness and descriptions of his struggle with depression shows how we can talk about mental health. However being only the most amateur of gardeners the latter half became like an endless list of plants for me and I struggled a bit to finish the book, which bridges two genres, autobiography and gardening.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this in between many long, difficult writing assignments. I am watching big dreams, small spaces along with my family and dreaming of restoring our garden to its former glory (?)
This book was great because it doesn't rush you. I didn't know half the plants mentioned in it because I live in India. However, I had a wonderful time looking them up and thinking what could parallel the experience here.
Chris Wolak
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Read because I'm a fan of Monty's TV gardening shows. I enjoyed reading about how their garden was created and how & why they've shifted it over the years.
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plus4
Monty Don's gardening programme is essential viewing in my household where his every utterance is treated with reverence. I knew a little about his life, the jewellery business, the depressive episodes etc. This book explains more.

A great many middle aged folk will remember how Thatcher-ism ended badly, many more will remember how it was never much more than misery.

For Monty and Sarah Don it meant the collapse of hard earned financial security and for Monty an added burden of depression.

The book
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully produced book full of glossy photographs, a joy for any gardener to hold and leaf through. Advertised as a story of "despair and redemption," yet the despair part of the book was not particularly compelling, and the second half of the book ended up becoming a simple account of how the gardens unfold throughout the seasons. An interesting decision was made to use two voices in the narrative, Monty Don's and his wife Sarah's, identified in the text by alternating between two type ...more
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this book a bit disappointing and very irritating in many places, as he and "Sarah" bang on about how difficult life was for them. Poor loves! You can't help feeling sorry for people from priveleged backgrounds who wholeheartedly bought into the Thatcher dream, and then start wingeing when it all goes wrong. I find his gardening style too regimented anyway, and too much box hedging everywhere. All that faffing on about the colours of jewels and what they were trying to achieve, and then ...more
Jane Wynne
A delightful and truthful book charting the rise to fame firstly in jewellery and then as Britain's favourite TV gardener. The development of Longmeadow and in particular, the Jewel Garden is fascinating and makes seeing it on TV all the more poignant.
Diane Warrington
This is the fascinating story of a man who on television seems totally together. The story is equally shared with his wife and it is a wonderful story of a couple coping with real hardship and the effects of depression. A good read, very human and very real.
Anne Cook
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thrilled to find this on bookshelves (yes a real book) at current Housesit. Ten yrs old but still of interest to a NZr. Great photography tells the story along with detailed prose. Also giving insight into Monty's battle with depression.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to sisterimapoet by: Mew
Shelves: nonfiction11
Beautiful. Mesmerising. Inspiring. Comforting.

The perfect read for a long dark January with the earth laying heavy and bare outside the windows.

And then to plan ahead, to order seeds, to dream and wait for Spring...
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Fascinated by the first half, detailing the couple's demise and giving insight into Monty's depressions.
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sounds great I always watch Monty Don on tv I like his approach to gardening but had no idea he had written books too Looking forward to reading this
Debbie Morrison
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I discovered Monty Don recently through a gardening docu-series, French Gardens with Monty Don on Netflix. Then I watched Monty Don’s Italian Gardens. I couldn’t get enough so I started following him on Instagram, along with 273,000 others. After doing a bit of digging, I discovered that Monty is quite a celebrity in the UK. He became a household name mainly through the BBC series Gardener’s World; though he went on to star in a number of BBC gardening-related shows (the Brits love their ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inside look at their careers and marriage.

Anyone who has watched BBC's Gardener's World will know Monty Don. He hosts the show, and at least a couple of the segments each time are filmed at his home, in his gardens. He is warm and personable; laid-back, but very knowledgeable. He makes the show, in my opinion. Anyway, after I had been watching for awhile, I managed to get a friend hooked on it as well. She gave me this book for my birthday (and another of his on gardening--review still to
Leanne Hunt
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I heard about this book on a podcast and was eager to read it because garden design and maintenance is a special interest of mine. Although I don't work extensively in the garden myself, I love reading about how gardeners work with their land and plants, creating beauty out of chaos and reaping food for the table from their own vegetable patch.
This book dealt more with the couple's move from the city to the country, which happened a long time ago. The account of the move was interesting but it
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are many books out there that discuss how gardening has helped the author work through some personal issues. Because I'm a fan of Monty Don on TV, I had high expectations for this book. So, it hurts to say I can't even give it 3 points. I found the book disjointed and boring. Part 1 was OK, where the couple talk about their early days before the business failure. However, Part 2 seemed to me to be simply a list of plants in their garden sections. I couldn't even work out how that would ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, wild
Wonderful read. The first half of the book is quick paced and draws you in. I read it in one sitting. The second half of the book is full of beautiful and delightful meditations on plant life. Because I'm not a British gardener, I didn't recognize all the flowers they were talking about. But, I enjoyed it nevertheless. Particularly when combined with watching Gardener's World 2011, it was a fantastic tour of Monty and Sarah's garden! All that said, I felt for Sarah while reading it. She has ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this much more than I had expected to. A beautiful honest account of the private personal histories of a well loved tv personality and his wife. Astonishing to know there is so much going on behind the carefree relaxed smiling face I watch every Friday that has only increased my fondness and appreciation. The second section of the book is an inspiring almost poetic tribute to the seasons told through excerpts from the Don’s garden diaries. A lovely book. Thoroughly recommended to ...more
Jan Duthie
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
As always Monty writes from the heart about life, gardening, success ,failure and what we should all now recognise as the healthy, healing power of gardening. The feeling of success and sometimes surprise when a new planting flourishes, of accomplishment when gathering the fruits of your labours and cooking them for your family and finally the joy of sitting in a lovely place you’ve help create and just enjoy. Guess what I love gardening!
Carol Rasberry
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous book detailing one couple's climb out of bankruptcy and despair back to a life of contentment and shared interests. This book does not gloss over the massive issues they had and they don't pretend things are perfect now. "But in the end the most exciting time of all is always the shining here and now".
Kirsty Keddie
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book of two halves, I wasn’t aware of Monty’s back story as jewellery designer and found the narrative of his early life very interesting and especially with his story interspersed with commentary from his wife.
Cyndi Smith
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
not what i was expecting
and it was interesting getting to know him as a "hawker" before he settled into who he is now
and it's lovely to see a story of true solid love that burns steadily and seriously thoughout genuine ups and downs of life.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful and brief overview of how the Dons built their current garden from the ruins and despair of their failing business. A powerful description of depression and gardening as a companion therapy. A beautiful window into their partnership and marriage.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Very good book for people interested in gardening.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't even like gardening that much, but oh I love Monty Don...
Cillian Fearon
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-bookshelf
Sometimes reading the right book at the right time can make an incredible difference.
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Montagu 'Monty' Denis Wyatt Don is a German-born British television presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture, known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners' World.