The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption Montagu & Sarah Don
I am certainly one of the may to read this book. Monty Don looks a strapping youth in the images, not that he doesn’t continue to look, well, fine now but like the rest of us he’s a been worn in a bit since this was published. After a sudden realisation that I hadn’t read a single one of his books and that above all else he considers himself a writer I resolved to buy some books by him and read. I bought 4 and this is the first.
It didn’t take long to get through it, it is a good read, fairly compulsive for me in fact. A speedy romp of a narration from both Monty and Sarah Don, sometimes hard to tell which, though a change of type by speaker at certain points sort of helps, mostly. Starting loosely with the Jewelry business and moving swiftly through it’s failure, various homes and onto the development of their current garedns
What did I like? the pace, the personal nature of the commentary the rather higgledy piggeldy ‘voice’ and style of ‘voice’. The weaving from both sides of their story which gives a balance to the whole and an idea of the team that has combined to make this garden and as well their family. It is intimate in a way that I had not expected. A rawness to their experience of the depression that Monty suffers and the family bears. And yet more than bears, Sarah appreciates inspire of and modifies around these periods and supports him within then. How lucky he is that she does, how wonderful that she can and does. One is left feeling they are both the greater for having lived this life together, ups, downs, ins and outs.
Monty’s passion is apparent and his writing absorbing, as a gardener I am absorbed, enthused and interested, as a designer I want more layouts, plans and visuals of the space, more plant lists and descriptions. But then it’s momentary because to me it feels like a narrative of their life, and I feel privileged to be given the window into it.
Definitely worth a read
The next three books look like they won’t take long to read and Mr Don IS clearly a wonderful writer.