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Monty Don's French Gardens

Last autumn I was asked to serve as consultant for Monty Don's French Garden series, for two of the three episodes: Historic Gardens, Gourmet Gardens and Art Gardens. He spends a lot of time in Provence, which he loves. All three episodes show beautiful pictures of La Louve, the masterpiece of Nicole de Vésian, subject of my book Modern Design in Provence. The series begins Friday February 1st at 21 H (English Time). see the BBC TWO website.

A response after viewing: Monty Don’s French Gardens: three programs for BBC2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgfjf
I am listed as “historical consultant” for the last two, on food and art. I had reservations: these are not the programs I would have made, not always the gardens I would choose nor the questions I would ask. But he knows his public. Now that I have seen the final versions, I can strongly recommend them. He makes points that are fresh and important for British viewers. In Potager, he recognizes that France’ peasant heritage—the terroir—produces a kind of modern gardening quite unlike British horticulture. And in Art, he makes a range of connections between gardens and creativity which, as he says, sometimes embarrass British gardeners. Above all, his enthusiasm for France and the French –so many shots of people in markets and cafés—are highly contagious. The editing is careful, varied and lively and features mainly to hands-on gardeners. He has left out some of the most important gardens (in my opinion) because they did not fit his pre-established story line, but what he kept gives a coherent if ever personal view. At a time when Europe is so controversial in Britain, Monty’s discovery of deepest France, so varied, warm and earthy, is very welcome.


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