Practically no copies Monty Don reveals all on bookselling woes

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Gardener and TV presenter extraordinaire Monty Don is now a household name. Yet, as his BBC show Adriatic Gardens continues to pull in the ratings, a message on Twitter reminded him that life hadn’t always been quite so easy.

I am very proud of that book – sold practically no copies but one of the best things I have done

Monty Don

The exchange had begun with author and podcast presenter Ian Dunt tweeting to his 352,000 followers that if he could get a tattoo of any film quote, it would be: “Monty, you terrible c***.”

“I’d probably shie (sic) away from that particular line,” Monty fired back.

Then gardening enthusiast @Hungoverdrawn joined the conversation to reveal an extract the exchange had “put him in mind of” from Monty’s 2006 book Growing Out Of Trouble.

Featuring his efforts to rehabilitate drug addicted youngsters by setting them to work in the garden, the book quote recalls: “I asked Chubby about being caught in possession of speed.

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“Bit of a c***, Mont, he said.

“You certainly are, I said. Any luck with jobs?”

The fan described the extract as a “great bit of comic writing” and Monty clearly agreed.

“I had completely forgotten this,” he marvelled in reply.

“I am very proud of that book – sold practically no copies but one of the best things I have done.”

His follower fired back: “I got it out of the library then – if it’s any consolation – bought my own copy!”

@sassyhome chimed in: “really enjoyed my copy, which I bought autographed on your website. Such a heartfelt, ambitious endeavour.

“It was obvious you made many sacrifices for those folks. Wish I could see the program, too.”

She then quoted: “I know that earth keeps me sane. It cannot be cheated. It is my base reality.”

Published in 2006, the book might not necessarily have been a commercial success but was Monty’s way of helping a good cause.

Believing that working with grass roots gardening could be healing, based on his own experiences of its therapeutic effects, he had set out to discover whether a group of young offenders could benefit in the same way.

Instead of growing, buying or abusing drugs, the former criminals could now try growing their own food directly from the soil and eating it.

Monty part-funded the project himself, in collaboration with the West Mercia Probation Service, at a total cost of £100,000.

Taking over a six acre plot in Herefordshire and handing it over to a group of young offenders was never going to run completely smoothly.

For instance, there was intervention from locals, who objected to the concept of “junkies” tending land so close by.

However the project still ranks as one of Monty’s most proud memories of his career.

Meanwhile, followers can catch up with missed episodes of current show Monty Don’s Adriatic Gardens at any time via BBC iPlayer.

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