What is an American garden? Is there such a thing and if so what does it look like? In this three-part series, Monty Don travels across this vast continent in search of answers.
Part 1: Missouri, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia
Monty travels from Missouri to Chicago and then across to New York and Philadelphia. He begins his journey in a prairie, the original American flowering wilderness. Much of the prairie has disappeared but he meets a couple who have revived the tradition and enjoy showing it to him in full bloom.
In New York, Monty explores vegetables being grown on the city’s rooftops, he rolls up his sleeves to help an enthusiastic community in the Bronx plant up their allotment and he learns about the history of America’s most famous public green space, Central Park.
Monty also travels to the garden city of America, Philadelphia, where he visits one of the country’s most famous gardens and enjoys a modern version of a prairie garden.
As he travels across the country, Monty learns about the history and culture of American people and their gardens and marvels at the enthusiasm and energy that makes the country so special.
Part 2: Charleston, Miami and New Orleans
Monty goes south to explore gardens of early independent America and learns how the history of this part of the country is still very much evident in the places and people he meets. He visits the famous garden where President Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, enjoyed spending his time seeking out seeds and plants for his thousand-foot vegetable garden.
From there, Monty travels south to Charleston, which boasts some of the most beautiful trees in the world, and learns about the life of its plantations.
In Miami, Monty visits one of the most spectacular Renaissance recreations built on marshland, and then joins an orchid hunter in search of rare plants only he knows how to find.
Monty ends this journey in New Orleans, where he sits beneath the huge oak trees in the square where jazz was born and hears why this green space was such an important part of that city’s history. It is a journey full of surprises, colourful exotic tropical plants and extraordinary fairy-tale houses and gardens.
Part 3: Arizona, Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Seattle
Monty explores the extraordinary scenery of the west coast of America.
He begins his journey in Arizona, where he learns about cacti and marvels at the sight of them in the desert and in private gardens, where they have replaced traditional plants and lawns.
From there, Monty travels to Palm Springs, and visits famous gardens made for their owners, from film stars to big businessmen and politicians, all gathering to enjoy the sunshine during the winter months and relax, enjoying their outside spaces and playing golf. Los Angeles is Monty’s next stop, where he slips into a more traditional form of transport to cruise around some fascinating Hollywood homes and also learn about how school children are taking up gardening.
The last stop of this journey is Seattle, where Monty visits a tropical get away for one of the city’s main workforces and some beautiful green spaces just outside the city.