Plantswoman FIONA EDMOND, who owns the award-winning Green Island Gardens in Ardleigh, normally shares her gardening tips. Today the topic is the on-going Monty Don interview saga, as she explains...

I am ashamed to say I recently became embroiled in what has turned out to be a controversial argument over some “statements” made by Monty Don in his August Gardeners World Magazine column.

Following my article three weeks ago, where I chose to disagree with comments made by Don that were “quoted” in the Daily Telegraph (4.8.18), I have had numerous emails from people agreeing with me.

One email, however, was from the editor of Gardeners World Magazine, Lucy Hall, who was understandably upset.

She sent me the whole piece written by Monty and the Telegraph quoted him totally out of context.

Yes, Don’s opening line is, “Visiting gardens is bad for you”, however he goes on to say that it also “inspires, informs, delights and entertains in a way that few other activities can match” and “I love visiting gardens and do it all the time, also over the world. It has been the keystone of my gardening education”. His article was written with a certain amount of tongue in cheek humour.

Monty has dismissed the comments as having been made during ‘newspaper silly season’. Having been contacted by Lucy Hall myself I was driven to do a little more research on the subject. What intrigues me is how the journalist who wrote the Telegraph article can get away with reporting people as having said things that they have not, and most importantly, why they are being employed by a national newspaper to do this?

In the same article the journalist quotes George Plumptre, chairman of the National Gardens Scheme as having said he found Monty’s comments “puzzling”. Now who should we believe?

Anyway, I am happy to set the record straight that Monty does enjoy visiting gardens, for all of the same reasons that I wrote about three weeks ago. I do believe Monty Don is owed a public apology.

He is one of our national treasures and to misquote him in this way has been potentially very damaging for his reputation.

It is also harmful to the huge amount of charity work done by all the garden owners who open their gardens for the National Gardens Scheme each year to raise funds chiefly for cancer charities as well as small businesses who rely on their visitors in order to keep their gardens going.

After all, as Monty says, gardens are only a snapshot in time, they are ever changing and as such need constant attention. For my part I think I will stick to writing about plants, and for all my readers I would encourage you to go out and visit open gardens at every opportunity!

Green Island Gardens, Ardleigh are open to the public every day except Mondays. For more information please visit