Gardeners’ World Christmas Special 2011: It may be frosty outside but there’s still plenty to be getting on with in the garden and fun to be had in the great outdoors. In this Gardeners’ World Christmas Special, Monty Don, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Rachel de Thame celebrate the festive season from a gardener’s point of view.
At Longmeadow, Monty and Rachel have a good clear up, cutting back some plants but leaving others for winter structure and wildlife. He also rejuvenates his rhubarb patch and introduces a local Herefordshire heritage variety apple tree to his orchard. Monty also enlists Joe’s help to move a holly tree that has outgrown its situation.
Out and about – Carol Klein discovers some of Britain’s best winter walks; Rachel de Thame gets tips on how, with a bit of ingenuity, anyone can make beautiful Christmas decorations from their own garden; and Joe Swift visits an urban vineyard, in Hackney, East London to find out which grapes you can grow at home. As a special Christmas cracker, Pam Ayres, poet and gardener, shows us how she encourages wildlife into her garden and provides for seasonal visitors during the colder months.
As the programme draws to a close, Rachel, Joe, Carol and Monty gather round the brazier for a glass of wine and to reflect on a fabulous year’s gardening and to toast Happy Christmas to one and all.
Gardeners’ World Christmas Special 2011
Gardeners’ World is a long-running BBC Television programme about gardening, first broadcast on 5 January 1968 and still running as of 2019. Its first episode was presented by Ken Burras and came from Oxford Botanical Gardens. The magazine BBC Gardeners’ World is a tie-in to the programme. Most of its episodes have been 30 minutes in length, although there are many specials that last longer. The 2008 and 2009 series used a 60-minute format as did the 2016 series from episode 23, for eight episodes in total.
Monty Don was born in West Berlin to British parents Denis Thomas Keiller Don, a career soldier posted in Germany, and Janet Montagu (née Wyatt). Both of his paternal grandparents were Scottish, through whom he is descended from botanist George Don and the Keiller family of Dundee, inventors of a brand of marmalade in 1797. On his maternal side, he is descended from the Wyatts, who were a prominent dynasty of architects. Both parents died in the 1980s. Don has a twin sister, an elder brother David, and two other siblings. His twin suffered a broken neck and blindness after a car crash, at the age of 19. Don describes his parents as being “very strict”.
Don was educated at three independent schools: Quidhampton School in Basingstoke, Hampshire, Bigshotte School in Wokingham, Berkshire, and at Malvern College in Malvern, Worcestershire, a college he hated. He then attended a state comprehensive school, the Vyne School, in Hampshire. He failed his A levels and while studying for re-takes at night school, worked on a building site and a pig farm by day. During his childhood he had become an avid gardener and farmer. He was determined to go to Cambridge out of “sheer bloody-mindedness”, attending Magdalene College, where he read English and met his future wife Sarah. He was a Cambridge Half Blue for boxing.