Monty Don in tragic plea as Gardeners’ World tenure ends: ‘Life is very strange’

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For 33 weeks the BBC’s flagship gardening show, Gardeners’ World, graced our screens. Monty Don is probably the show’s best-known cast member, each episode revealing some quirk or nugget of knowledge on horticulture. Monty has presented the show for 17 years now.

From 2011, he participated in a semi-quarantine that has lasted to this day, when producers allowed him to host the show from his sprawling Herefordshire home.

Unfortunately, today is Gardeners’ World last 2020 episode.

It comes as winter creeps up with the nights slowly drawing in and a crispness descending the air.

Tonight, Monty will harvest his pumpkins – a nod to Halloween tomorrow – and plant bulbs in a pot.

Just after the beginning of lockdown, Monty was hit with some devastating personal news.

His beloved golden retriever Nigel, who often made cameo appearances on the show, sadly passed away.

He was just 12 years old.

In his new book, ‘My Garden World’, Monty dedicated large parts to Nigel.

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Towards the end, when talking about the pain he feels in “Nige” not being around, Monty expresses his frustration as life has become “very strange”.

After explaining how famous Nigel had become around the world, Monty wrote: “Life is very strange.

“Not least because no one is a star to their family.

“He was Nige, one of us, and was loved with the same career irreverence that all families share.

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“Yes, he was gloriously handsome, incredibly photogenic and his guide-dog genes meant that he was ideally suited to the patience needed for the snail-slow process of filming.

“But it was more than that.”

Nigel was buried with 50 yellow tennis balls, his bowl full of an extra big helping of food, lots of biscuits and a bunch of flowers.

Several times did Monty pay tribute to Nigel throughout the summer lockdown.

In July, in an Instagram post, he shared previously lost photographs of Nigel and his other golden retriever, Neil.

In a caption of one, he wrote: “Found this from last year. They made a good pair. Miss the old chap.”

Monty has said that in the days before his death, Nigel was in good spirits and his usual self.

He said that there was “not a glimmer of illness or discomfort”.

Out of the blue, Nigel had a major seizure.

All through the night the seizures continued, until the evening of the following day, after being admitted to the vets and treated to no avail, Nigel was put to sleep.

My Garden World was published on 17 September by Two Roads and is avaliable here.

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