Win A Copy Of ‘Down To Earth’ By Monty Don

On Saturday, I attended a pre-publication lunch held to promote Monty Don’s new book, ‘Down to Earth‘.  I don’t often accept the various invitations I receive through the blog but this sounded marvellous … and with free food and drink too.

Despite considerable effort spent making myself sort-of-presentable, I still felt out-of-place at the very smart venue – Hams Yard Hotel, Soho – and on arrival half expected a hand on the shoulder and a polite shove toward the exit.    But no.  My name was on the list, the smiley staff were welcoming and immediately offered me a cold glass of bubbly.  I clasped it tightly and tried not to gulp.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (2)

Four storeys above the hubbub of Soho, the roof terrace was cool and tranquil and beautiful, as I double checked my fingernails for mud and scanned the early arrivals in hope of a familiar face.  There wasn’t one, so I tried to look purposeful by photographing non-gulped wine.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (1)

And then I took a second for no good reason and, still acting purposeful, explored the terrace.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (4)

Monty Don would arrive soon to sign copies of his new book for this small gathering of twenty or so bloggers and ‘influencers’.  It was as I took the above photo that I saw two very welcome faces indeed emerging from the green: Michelle Chapman and Alison Levey, who write the Veg Plotting and The Blackberry Garden blogs.  I’d met both before and they introduced me to two other bloggers, Sara Venn and Alexandra Campbell – The Physic Garden and The Middle Sized Garden – and I was no longer lonely.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (6)

With Michelle, I walked through a gate to a small but crammed-full veg garden, with beehives,

Ham Yard Roof Garden (7)

and even a green-roofed shed for goodness sake.  But to be honest I was so busy nattering to Michelle that I took less notice of this roof-top oasis than I should have.

Our small group of Garden Bloggers gravitated toward the ‘signing table’ where we were offered a succession of wonderful canapes – and more fizz.  I’d eaten nothing all day and was tempted to grab fistfuls of food at a time; but there was no need.  Chunks of tender beef with béarnaise sauce, small ice-cream type cones crammed with delicious mushroom risotto and prawns speared on to something very-tasty-but-I’ve-forgotten-what, kept on coming with lots of other delicious morsels.  I ate till I could eat no more.  We washed all that down with gin cocktails in glasses the size of goldfish bowls, leaving us all rather jolly if not overtly raucous.  I think.

Time for the main event.

Monty Don (1)

As if by magic, Monty Don appeared straight off the telly and gave a short introduction about his new book, its journey from initial musings on a beach in India and its purpose:  his personal thoughts on what is important about gardening, with tips and pointers to make one’s garden grow well.

Then, each guest was handed a Hessian goodie bag (no, really) containing a handsome mug (mine with the inscription ‘For True Gents’), a small pretty plant, a tube of posh hand cream, a roll of posh twine, a pack of posh teabags and The Book, which Monty would sign for us.  I hadn’t expected a free copy and queued up dutifully.

When it was my turn to meet Mr Don, my mind went blank and rather than launching into pithy, witty, sparkling repartee nor even mentioning my blog (my son groaned and sank his face into his hands when I told him about that omission), I recited my smuttiest limerick.

Monty Don (2)

Which went down well.   (I didn’t really recite a smutty limerick.  Though in retrospect, I rather wish I had.  As I’m sure, does Monty).

Down to Earth by Monty Don

I’m sorry to say that since the lunch, I’ve barely had time to open Down to Earth, let alone read it.  But the publisher, Dorling Kindersley, who kindly laid on the lunch and to whom I offer my warmest thanks, has offered me a second (unsigned) copy to give away.

The book is published tomorrow and if you would like the chance to win your own copy, here’s all you need do:

say you want to enter in the “Any Thoughts” box below


(if you don’t do so already) follow ‘The Anxious Gardener’ blog; or follow me on Twitter; or like The Anxious Gardener Facebook page.  Or all three!  The relevant follow buttons are in the sidebar of this page.

You can also enter via Twitter or Facebook – check my Twitter feed and Facebook page for details.

Please note that the prize can only be posted to a UK postal address.

The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 15th October 2017.

I’ll draw a name from my hat, contact the winner and add the result to the bottom of this post.

Monty Don 3

Good luck!


The competition is now closed.  Thank you to everyone for taking part … and the winner is Rej via the blog.  Congratulations.

137 thoughts on “Win A Copy Of ‘Down To Earth’ By Monty Don

  1. You’ve made me want to shave off the roof of my house so I can have a garden up there . . with chairs and tables and . .. and . . . runner beans.

    I’d like to win the book. Please put me in your hat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always really enjoy reading your blog, this one, in particular, made me smile – I am off on a garden design course at Scampston on Thursday, and already thinking – (well hoping that that there will be some like-minded self employed.gardeners there, I am sure there will) Oh yes, can you include me on your list for the book. Sally

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you know how many bloody trees have gone into furnishing this tome?
    enough to make Monty wince, probably.
    Though not as many as AlanTitchmarsh has pulped over the years, probably.

    Consider this as my entrance to your competition, bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dave, Looks like you had a fabulous time (I love the sound of the food!) and so lovely to meet up with other bloggers. I enjoyed your post so thought I’d leave a comment but not fussed about having a copy of the book – I’ll wait until my local library gets a copy and dip into it then. (I’ve probably missed your draw anyway.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Caro, well I hope I get to meet you one day at some ‘event’. I’ve been chatting to you on and off online for yonks now. The draw runs through till next Sunday – so you’re not too late, if you’d like me to pop your name in the hat? D


  5. Some bloggers they went up to London
    To meet and have lunch with Monty Don
    At a place that was fine
    With a garden to dine
    The two hours was far too quickly gone


    It was great to see you Dave and catch up with your news – two years is far too long between get togethers. You can see why James Alexander Sinclair banned me from writing poetry on my blog 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Always follow your blogs with great interest and this one was as delightful as ever. I’ve several Monty Don books as I love his writing. Please add my name to the hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounded like a lovely evening – my attention was particularly caught by the gin cocktails! Please could you put my name in the hat? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. Your response is very reassuring. At least when I find myself floundering (current one: It’s autumn, what the hell am I supposed to be doing in autumn??) I can look across at others on their plots and think they’re probably having a moment of panic too!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I once saw Monty Don at Belfast City airport. I was too starstruck to even go up and say hello! I’m still annoyed with myself years later! I’d love to win his book, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The wonder if Google has been brought me here. My first gardening blog that I’ll be following. Now if I win the book, everyone is a winner (except the people who don’t win…).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love to enter your competition please
    The ‘goodie bag’ has given me gift ideas.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, have signed up for more
    Thank You

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Win A Copy Of ‘Down To Earth’ By Monty Don – Pacey-Buck Garden Design

  12. How lovely to be invited along and to have the opportunity to meet fellow gardening bloggers (and Mr Don). It’s a wonderful venue, isn’t it? I went to a friend’s birthday party there last year and spent most of my time in the garden part, admiring the planting. I would love a copy of this book, so please pop my name in your hat, thank you. Sam x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sam, yes Ham Yard was very lovely and the staff were brilliant (which I should have mentioned in the post) as were the DK reps. And it was lovely to meet the other bloggers too. I rarely do, so it is a real treat to talk to people who inhabit the little world of garden blogging. Good luck in the draw. D


  13. Always enjoy your blog! I’m a huge fan of Monty, have read all of his books (he’s a great writer) and would love to enter the competition please! Marianne Murphy

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I might have to start blogging if I can get invited to posh parties! Hope you had a lovely time. That roof garden looks fab. I’d like to enter the competition please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rej, I have rec’d some corker invites actually but mostly they mean taking a day off and I have to factor in travel and a day’s loss of pay. But this one, on a Saturday, was a no-brainer. Blog away! D


  15. Lucky you to be invited to the rooftop garden to meet Monty. I am pleased you put in some details and photos as no-one else on Twitter or blogs did. You looked very smart and I am sure Monty understood everything you said. I enjoy your blog etc, but you are not as prolific as you used to be; hope new house/garden and jobs are going well. Please enter me in your draw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne, I have put the blog a little on the back-burner these past few months but I should like to get back up to speed with it. Like everybody else though, I find that finding time to do all the things one likes to do is difficult. Monty was a true gent and smiled nicely at whatever garbage I came out with. I liked him a lot. Good luck in the draw, D


  16. Ooo you have changed! Rubbing shoulders with the stars! You were always destined for greatness, what are you going to do next? Glad things are going so well, looking forward to seeing you in a couple of months if you have time in your schedule for us mere mortals! Lots of love xx xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a stunning day, Pauline and London looked beautiful. Made me wonder why I ever moved away. Then I stood at Cambridge Circus for quarter of hour waiting on a friend. It was so grim, I remembered why I moved away! D


  17. Love following the anxious gardener, being an anxious gardener myself. Would also be pleased to win a copy of Monty’s book. Please put my name in your hat. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Would love to win Monty’s new book, my favourite Tarte Tatin recipe came from one of his early books. He doesn’t give loads of instructions or ingredients but it works every time- bit like his gardening advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. There was an old gardener from Bath
    Who fancies a read of that book and a laugh
    So be a nice chap
    Put me name in the hat
    And put me out of my misery! HA HA

    Missing your posts Dave XX

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Well it certainly looks as though Monty is enjoying whatever it was you were saying to him. Encountered him in a stand off on a cattle grid once. Neither of us saw the other one coming. Each of us tried to reverse but he was quicker to get out of the way. Charmingly considerate even when off duty. Took me a while to put a name to the face though. (And yes, please add my name to your hat) Ceri

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw him once at Chelsea. He was only about 8 feet away, surrounded by people and I was sitting down. But he ignored me completely. A bit rude, I thought (not that we had ever met). Still, he seemed a thoroughly good egg on Saturday. D


  21. >> I ate till I could eat no more

    Not all bad then, this blogging lark? 🙂

    If I win could you please send me your smutty limerick – so I can pass it on to Monty for you …

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Yes I’d love to enter please, having spent all day in the garden weeding and preparing for autumn – surely he will have hints for making it easier?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. What a treat; gorgeous place, food and company all beautifully snapped. I love your blog and have been following it since I was lucky enough to get back in contact with your sister, Margaret with whom I was at school back in the day. I would love to win a copy of Monty Don’s book: my husband follows him religiously even though his ex-wife fancied him! Not my type but I enjoy his programme! Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I’d love a copy (about time I won something from you!). I travelled to England especially to hear Monty in conversion with ……(actually someone not very prepared and hopeless at asking questions, but Monty knew what was expected of him and managed to be entertaining despite the questioner). All this was at Hauser and Wirth in Somerset. Lucky you to be invited to a freebie; being here in Italy means I don’t get invited to these events. Miss reading your posts, don’t give up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hullo Christina, he was very relaxed, very charming, very approachable. I did ask him if he got nervous in front of crowds to which he answered no. Which is where he and I differ sharply! Good luck in the draw, and whilst I don’t post as often as I used to, I’ll be around for a while yet. But thanks very much for the comment, D

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I would love to enter, but sigh…live in Canada. It sounds like it was a really great time. I would not be able to speak to Monty Don, my name would evade me I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

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