The clue is somewhat in the name with Monty Don: he is the don of the gardening world. And so, when he revealed he’s switching up his greenhouse ideas this winter in a controversial move, we were naturally all ears.
Now, we Brits have long been fond of a heated greenhouse. In fact, the first ‘stove’ (heated) greenhouse in the UK popped up at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1681, and we’ve never really looked back.
Monty Don, however, has recently changed his opinion on this centuries-old garden trend…
Why Monty Don is ditching his heated greenhouse
In a new interview with The Guardian, Monty Don explained that this is the first winter he is not going to heat his greenhouse to protect his banana plants and cannas.
‘I can’t justify heating a greenhouse for plants that won’t naturally survive,’ he said simply. ‘If they die, they die.’
Monty Don, who has spoken a great deal about the ways in which climate change is altering the seasons, went on to share his opinion that ‘British gardens are based upon a colonial past’.
‘We took plants from all over the world and brought them in as trophies, but they never adapted to our climate,’ he added.
‘[So], instead of seeing them as trophies, I think increasingly we’ve got to say: “This is an anomaly.”‘
It’s an interesting perspective for a professional horticulturalist to take, but there’s no denying that Monty Don’s (ironically) hot take on the heated greenhouse is rooted in sense and sound logic.
‘If you are passionate about growing hothouse flowers and tropical plants, then don’t feel you have to ditch your greenhouse heater,’ advises Christopher O’Donoghue, one of the co-directors at Gardens Revived.
‘If you’re looking for a way to save money on your energy bills, however, it’s a great idea to follow in Monty Don’s footsteps – especially as it will help you a better grasp on the UK’s shifting seasons. It’s certainly something for us all to aspire to!’
A gardener with over a decade of experience under his belt, Christopher set up Gardens Revived with his brother, Andrew, in 2018 to create a thriving family business. Together, they have worked on residential gardens, listed buildings and gardens, flower shows and large estates with some exceeding 70 acres – many with historical significance.
Of course, switching off your greenhouse heater doesn’t render it useless: an unheated greenhouse can still be used for overwintering tender perennials and less hardy plants from the chilly climes of your garden.
Those who are fond of the Nordic koselig trend, too, will be pleased to know that you can absolutely incorporate an unheated greenhouse into all of your favourite cosy garden ideas – if only to give you a sheltered spot for a cuppa between gardening jobs!
And, if you still want to tackle those plants that love a warmer environment (anyone who’s been reading up on how to grow chillis will know what we’re talking about!), Christopher reminds us that a sunny windowsill can be used to much the same effect.
With that in mind, then, maybe Monty Don’s advice isn’t quite as controversial as traditional gardeners clutching their metaphorical pearls might have you believe… especially if you invest in some heavyweight garden fleece from Amazon.
If you’ll need us, we’ll be ripping the thermostat out of our greenhouse…