The Monty factor: Yes or No?
Well, you probably all know by now that BBC Gardeners World and Monty Don were here last week to film their Tree Special which went out last night.
So now, when visitors ask “Has Monty been here” the answer will be “Yes!”. The question will now become “What was Monty like?”.
Well I’m happy to say that Monty was really nice. Approachable and willing to chat about all sorts of things – off camera – from micro-hydros to tree diseases to Land Rovers and so on. You may know that he has a property in the adjacent Llanthony Valley, so that also helped. And he wrote “Loved it!” in our Visitors Book. Would I invite him to dinner? Yes, I think so.
As for the programme? Well, maybe we approached it all with rose-tinted specs, but we felt that a number of good things about trees in gardens that we could have contributed were glossed over or missed. Maybe TV gardening programmes are not really ‘us’.
To be fair, the camerawork was excellent – an issue attested to by our ex-cameraman neighbour – and they showed a range of views of the garden. What was missing was any real description of the garden or – with one or two exceptions – any linking of Monty’s clips to what we do here.
Will being on TV encourage more people to visit the garden? Probably, but it is quite a time until the garden is open again next Spring and viewers may have forgotten by then.
Posts on Twitter made the point that they wanted to “know more about the Garden in the Brecon Beacons”, and our hits on this website went through the roof – the graph looks like one of those Douglas Firs that Monty was eulogising about!
If you haven’t seen the programme, then do watch it. I believe it is repeated on Sunday morning or there is also iPlayer for those who prefer to watch at their own leisure.
As a potential spin-off, whilst the crew were packing away, we got talking to the sound engineer. A lovely chap called Gary – you may have seen him on Springwatch – and he expressed an interest in running a Dawn Chorus workshop here next Spring. Turns out he’s a real expert. More info to follow.