Top critical review
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Some interesting snippets but a lot of repetition
on 8 June 2012
I was given this book as a birthday present because it is a family joke that most of my gardening 'wisdom' is prefaced by "Monty says..." so, yes, I'm a fan and maybe that's why I was disappointed by this book, a lot of it felt eerily familiar. In short there is very little in this book that isn't covered in more depth in 'The Complete Gardener' or 'The Ivington Diaries'. Even between chapters there is a lot of repetition, the passages on peas are a good example.
I realise that this is partly due to the format, in which each chapter is based around a month so that you can dip in and out but it still seems a case of poor editing and/or a way to pad out the book.
The writing is full of Monty's usual infectious enthusiasm as he waxes lyrical about the joys (and frustrations) of gardening and is full of useful bits of advice. I find his books a useful counterpoint to the more formal advice laid down in RHS manuals and reading his books always gives me new ideas (albeit scaled down - we don't all have the luxury of a couple of acres and ample funds).
However, if you want tips on how to garden buy 'The Complete Gardener' it's an excellent reference book. If you want to read about the development of Longmeadow, buy 'The Ivington Diaries' - an inspiring account of how the Dons created and maintain their garden. This book just feels like a chance to cash in on the recent Gardeners' World series and offers nothing new, bar a few references to the poor weather of 2011.