Hestercombe to feature on Monty Don’s The Secret History Of The British Garden

Somerset’s Hestercombe Gardens is to feature in a new historical gardening series presented by Gardeners’ World favourite Monty Don on BBC Two.

Navigating through 400 years of Britain’s gardening heritage, The Secret History Of The British Garden examines how traditional British gardening has changed over time with the influencing factors of politics, war, religion, archaeology, medicine and Britain’s evolving tastes in food, design, sculpture and fashion.

The first episode aired on Sunday (November 15) and explored the sole surviving garden of the 1600s, the world-famous Levens Hall in the Lake District.

Hestercombe’s head gardener Claire Reid was interviewed by Monty for the fourth and concluding episode which will be shown on Sunday, December 6 at 9pm. Following the 20th century, the episode sees Monty examining the profound effect that two world wars had on attitudes to gardening. At Hestercombe Claire talks to Monty about the planting schemes of Gertrude Jekyll which were far less labour intensive than the previous heavy duty Victorian planting schemes.

Today gardening is one of Britain’s most popular pastimes, and the horticultural industry is worth over nine billion pounds annually. Monty reveals the pioneers who led this gardening revolution.

Head gardener Claire said: “It was amazing to meet a real hero of mine, and not be disappointed in the slightest. It’s rare to speak to anyone who is so intellectual and yet also practical as well. He is a proper gentleman!”

Monty Don said: “My journey through 500 years of British garden history has been fascinating. Not only has it unravelled the horticultural narrative of our unique gardening history but it has also been filled with insights into our social, political and cultural life that stretches into every corner of human behaviour right to the present day."

The four-part series was commissioned by the BBC’s Mark Bell, and has been executive produced by Greg Sanderson for the BBC and Alexandra Henderson for Lion TV.