Monty Don shares heartfelt praise for Gardeners’ World co-star ‘Can’t take for granted’

Gardeners’ World: Monty Don praises Clare Austin’s knowledge

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The first of this year’s Gardeners’ World Winter Specials began on Friday evening with Monty Don joined by regular co-stars Adam Frost, Kate Bradbury and many more on BBC Two. The gardening expert had plenty on the agenda to inform BBC viewers about – from winter at Meadowseat to tips on caring for bees over the festive period. But it was after a chat about peonies that Monty took the time to pay a special mention to one of his co-stars.

Kicking off the segment, Monty examined the peonies he’s growing in his own garden.

“A winter job that I should be doing is pruning this peony,” he began as he started to rummage through his flora.

The Gardeners’ World host continued: “This is a Tree peony, Paeonia lute, with yellow flowers. I’m often asked the right way to prune a Tree peony and the answer is to get right down in there. 

“Now, if I lift this up and pull it back, you should be able to see these new green shoots,” he said as he got to grips with the plant.

He went on: “And then the older growth, the brown growth there, and the way to prune it is to cut out the old growth right down to the ground. 

“However, don’t remove more than a third at any one time. 

“The best time to do that is after the last leaf has fallen, which should be around about the end of November.”

Monty went on to introduce contributor Claire Austin as he said: “Now, I love peonies, but I’m no expert. 

“However, I know someone who is, and that is Claire Austin at her nursery not so very far from here.”

A clip then showed Claire tending to the array of peonies growing at her own nursery.

Claire ran viewers through the “four” style of peonies and how to tend to them as well as the distinctive markers that define each flower.

The peony expert then gave viewers an in-depth explanation into each of the different type of peony and the best ways to tend to them. 

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And as the camera returned to Monty at Longmeadow, the BBC presenter was full of admiration for Claire’s extensive knowledge.

Sharing his heartfelt praise with viewers, Monty said: “The kind of knowledge and expertise that nursery people like Claire have is something we should never take for granted.

“It’s a very, very precious resource,” he added as he lamented her hard work.

And it wasn’t just Monty who wanted to pay a special nod to Claire’s hard work.

Following her informative segment, BBC viewers flocked to Twitter to praise the Gardeners’ World guest.

“I couldn’t agree more, Claire!” Twitter user @NoniSturge said. “I love my Peonies. Thank you, I’ve learnt so much more about these beautiful flowers this evening. #GardenersWorld.”

And @angegarrod agreed: “Want to try an intersectional peony soon. Claire’s look superb. #GardenersWorld

While @Clearthishouse weighed in: “I thought peonies only came in carmine. The only colour in my grandpa’s garden and those of his friends. What joy to learn that is not the case. #Peonies #GardenersWorld.”

Gardeners’ World continues Friday at 8pm on BBC Two.

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