BBC Two gardening series to time travel from 17th century to modern day

My journey through 500 years of British garden history has been fascinating...filled with insights into our social, political and cultural life.Monty Don
Date: 01.04.2015     Last updated: 01.04.2015 at 11.00
Category: BBC Two
Presented by Gardeners’ World favourite Monty Don, a new historical gardening series will navigate through 400 years of Britain’s gardening heritage.

The Secret History Of The British Garden will examine how traditional British gardening has changed over time, with influencing factors including politics, war, religion, archaeology, medicine and Britain’s evolving tastes in food, design, sculpture and fashion.

The four part series made by Lion TV, begins with Monty exploring the sole surviving garden of the 1600s, the world-famous Levens Hall in the Lake District.

Mark Bell, BBC Head of Commissioning, Arts says: “This is BBC Two doing what the channel does best - bringing the past times of one of the nation’s favourite pastimes to our screens. In turning over the detail of Great British garden design, Monty uncovers the artistic highpoints and cultural legacy of our greatest shapers of the world outside the window.”

Monty Don adds: “My journey through 500 years of British garden history has been fascinating. Not only has it unravelled the horticultural narrative of our unique gardening history but it has also been filled with insights into our social, political and cultural life that stretches into every corner of human behaviour right to the present day."

The Secret History Of The British Garden (4x60) is made up of the following episodes:

In Episode One Monty winds the clock back to the 17th century, starting his journey at Levens Hall in Cumbria and continuing to London’s Hampton Court. By way of archaeology and a photograph taken by the German Luftwaffe in the 1940s, a long-lost garden reveals hidden messages and the religious beliefs of our 17th century forebears.

Episode two sees Monty arriving in the 18th century, an age that gave rise to the landscape garden. Monty uses Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s first commission, Croome Court in Worcestershire as his base. Along the way he visits the landscape garden of Rousham, designed by the maverick William Kent, and Stanage Park, designed by the marketing genius Humphrey Repton.

In the third installment, Monty focuses on the 19th century. The expanding empire, scientific and technological innovation, and social change are reflected in Britain’s more exotic, colourful and accessible gardens. Monty visits royal retreats, including Osborne House; the very first publicly owned, urban recreational park, Derby Arboretum; as well as Kew Gardens and Edinburgh’s botanic gardens.

The concluding fourth episode, now in the 20th century, sees Monty examining the profound effect that two world wars had on attitudes to gardening. Today gardening is one of Britain’s most popular pastimes, and the horticultural industry is worth over nine billion pounds annually . Monty reveals the pioneers who led this gardening revolution.

The 4x60 series was commissioned by the BBC’s Mark Bell, and has been executive produced by Greg Sanderson for the BBC and Alexandra Henderson for Lion TV.

The Secret History Of The British Garden is coming soon to BBC Two.