When I die I shall go to May

Monty Don at the Hampton Court Flower Show, 2011
Photo: Mark Wordy (CC BY 2.0)

British gardener Monty Don has been educating and inspiring the public for decades through his love of nature, beginning in 1989 with a television debut that ultimately led to him presenting BBC’s much-loved Gardeners’ World. It was shortly after he became a broadcaster that Monty and his wife bought a farmhouse atop two acres of land in the village of Ivington, a purchase that marked the beginning of a passion project that would see them develop the plot into the garden of their dreams. Monty chronicled this journey in his diary, recording not only the evolution of the land but also the soulful reflections of someone fully engaged with the rhythms of the natural world.

The Diary Entry

23rd May 2003

When I die I shall go to May. It will be green. Not environmentally correct, for things will just be, without measurement or judgment, but actually the colour green in all its thousand shining faces. Every day will feel like Christmas Eve when I was ten. Every green leaf will be perfection exactly as it is and yet will grow and change every time I turn my eyes to it. Every moment will be like the arc of a diver breaking the waters of a green lake. I know this because this is what May is like here and now. Almost unbearable really. It does not hold for half an hour. Yet in the shifting, growing hymn of light and colour and leaf is the still, simple reason that I garden.

Further Reading

The Ivington Diaries was published in 2009 and I recommend it to all. The closest I come to gardening is mowing the lawn when forced, and yet, I find myself emotionally affected by many of these diary entries. Monty writes beautifully, and his love for the land he tends is infectious and endearing. A surprisingly moving book.

Diary entry reprinted by kind permission of Monty Don, to whom I send thanks.

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