It’s planting time for GW’s Easter Special

Monty DonMonty Don
Monty Don
Friday: Gardener’s World Easter Special; (BBC Two, 9pm)

According to Christian folklore, plants grow better and bear more fruit if they are planted on Good Friday.

Catholics planted potatoes on this day and sprinkled them with holy water, and because for some Good Friday was the first day off after Christmas, for many, it was the first chance for gardening.

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Of course, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that planting on this day makes seeds grow better or plants produce more fruit – Good Friday falls on a different date each year for starters. However, today is still seen by some people to be the start of the gardening year, and the Easter weekend in general tends to be one of the busiest in the calendar for nurseries and garden centres.

One person who will be looking forward to getting to work this weekend is Monty Don

The Gardeners’ World host, author and broadcaster has been courageously honest about his depression and seasonal affective disorder over the years, and despite enjoying one of the best years ever in his garden, he can’t wait for the onset warmer days and lighter nights that Easter signals.

“I’ll be very happy when we get through this,” he said in a recent interview with The Sunday Times when discussing the lockdown.

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Monty has been grounded at his Herefordshire home, Longmeadow, for almost 18 months, saying: “The last time I went anywhere, other than buying bird food from the shop once a month, was a few day trips to London last summer after I came back from Los Angeles in October 2019.”

On the plus side, the lockdown has meant that Monty has be able “to see peak everything: the autumnal colours, the roses, the bulbs in spring” at Longmeadow.

Like many of us, he has used the pandemic as an excuse to “garden a lot more” —and admits that, for all that he misses seeing his children and grandchildren, —it has been rather wonderful.

In tonight’s GW’s Easter Special, Monty looks ahead to the summer months, planting out sweet peas, as well as advising on mulches for borders.

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Meanwhile, Carol Klein is at RHS Rosemoor in Devon, revelling in the floral sensations of Spring, and there’s a look back at how Nick Bailey transformed his own garden into a colourful and productive oasis in just one season.

Plus, presenter JJ Chalmers on how the natural world helped with his rehabilitation,

Finally, there is a trip to a daffodil show and more visits to viewers’ gardens, to show that Britain is blooming during this Easter.

Indeed, it’s not just Monty who has spent more time cultivating over the past year or so.

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More and more people around the world are turning to gardening and the pandemic has created a new generation of enthusiasts who have gone green, injecting colour into their gardens and finding that growing can be good for the soul.

Fruit and vegetable seed sales are jumping in the UK and worldwide.

“The message I’m getting from seed growers is that the demand is greater than ever,” Monty says.

“I want everybody to grow as much as possible,” he says.

“If we can start to eat more seasonally and locally and responsibly, so much the better. And that begins in a garden or an allotment.”

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