Monty Don's Japanese Gardens

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Monty Don's Japanese Gardens

Series 1 - Episode 1



Monty Don strolls through an exquisite garden full of maples, azaleas and moss lawns neatly arranged around water gently flowing over stones. It’s quintessentially Japanese – but it’s actually in Tatton Garden, Cheshire. As he did with the fabulous Paradise Gardens series, Monty revels in the connections between gardens around the world (and he tells an extraordinary story about a cherry tree that had died out in Japan but inexplicably popped up in Sussex) but, of course, he spends most of his time in Japan.

In Kyoto he marvels over the precision of the gardeners at Kenrokuen, who hand-pick unwanted grass from the undulating carpets of moss, then quietly contemplates the serenity of the karesansui (zen gardens) at the Ryoanji Buddhist temple. But it’s the “genius” gardens at the Matsuo-taisha shrine that speak to him the most.

Monty learns a lot about the philosophy and symbolism of Japanese gardening, although he’s still not clear about the etiquette of bowing – just who is supposed to stop bowing first, he frets.


The first of two programmes in which Monty travels to Japan in spring to explore different aspects of the nation's gardens. Amidst the cherry blossoms, he begins his journey by visiting the earliest surviving boating garden of the Heian period. He also looks at the rolling green moss of a Buddhist garden and learns the secrets of creating a Zen landscape before visiting an unconventional garden created by a modern design legend. The presenter also learns about the art of Japanese stonemasonry, the famous tea ceremonies and receives a lesson in the delicate art of traditional flower arranging.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Monty Don
Editor Erica Lee
Executive Producer Alexandra Henderson
Producer Daisy Newton-Dunn