Transcript: Monty Don's American Gardens - Episode 2 | Nov 20, 2020

Monty is in his late fifties, with short curly graying hair and wears a pale blue shirt, a blue jacket and a blue-gray scarf.

He says FOR THE PAST HUNDRED YEARS,
AMERICA HAS LED THE WORLD IN SO
MANY WAYS.
IT HAS AN EXTRAORDINARY
DIVERSITY OF LANDSCAPE AND
PEOPLES UNMATCHED ANYWHERE ELSE
IN THE WORLD.
AND IT HAS INFLUENCED EVERY
SINGLE ASPECT OF MODERN CULTURE.
BUT IS THAT TRUE OF ITS GARDENS?
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS AN
AMERICAN GARDEN?
I DON'T KNOW.
BUT THAT'S WHAT I'VE COME HERE
TO FIND OUT.

Fast clips show Monty walking through different gardens.

Monty says IN THIS SERIES, I'M SETTING OUT
TO TRAVEL THE LENGTH AND
BREADTH OF AMERICA.
FROM THE LEAFY NORTHEAST TO THE
DESERT OF THE SOUTHWEST TO
DISCOVER HOW PEOPLE IN THIS
HUGE COUNTRY CREATE THEIR
GARDENS.
I'LL BE MARVELING AT AN AMAZING
RENAISSANCE PALACE IN THE HEART
OF MIAMI.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH MAJESTIC
OAKS ON THE PLANTATIONS OF
SOUTH CAROLINA.
I DON'T THINK I'VE SEEN MORE
BEAUTIFUL TREES THAN THESE
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
WANDERING AMONGST A FOREST OF
HUGE CACTI IN THE ARIZONA
DESERT AND MEETING SOME
ENTHUSIASTIC LOCAL GARDENERS IN
A DOWNTOWN PLOT IN A NEW YORK
BOROUGH OF THE BRONX.

A woman says WE HAVE SPANISH, WE
HAVE CARIBBEAN, EVERYONE'S HERE.
SO, THIS IS AMERICA'S GARDEN.

The name of the show reads "Monty Don's American gardens."

Monty says IN THIS PROGRAM, I'M
EXPLORING GARDENS IN THE SOUTH
AND ON MY TRAVELS AROUND THE
COUNTRY I'VE NOW REACHED THE
NATION'S CAPITAL, WASHINGTON,
D.C., BUT I'M STARTING ON HOME
SOIL AT THE RESIDENCE OF THE
BRITISH AMBASSADOR.
BUILT IN THE 1920S, IT WAS
DESIGNED BY THE EMINENT BRITISH
ARCHITECT EDWIN LUTCHINS AND IS
CONSIDERED TO BE ONE OF THE
GRANDEST AMBASSADORIAL
RESIDENCES IN THE WORLD.
LUTCHINS' MAGNIFICENT BUILDING
IS SET IN A VERY ENGLISH GARDEN
WITH HERBACEOUS BORDERS, LOTS
OF ROSES, AND ENGLISH SHRUBS.
BUT IT'S NOT THE GARDEN IN
PARTICULAR THAT I'VE COME FOR
BECAUSE I'VE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY
TO TALK TO THE BRITISH
AMBASSADOR AND HOPEFULLY GET
SOME INSIGHT AND GUIDANCE INTO
THE AMERICAN RELATIONSHIP WITH
HER GARDENS AND THE NATURAL
WORLD.
I BEGAN BY ASKING AMBASSADOR
DARROCH IF HE COULD DESCRIBE
WHAT A TYPICAL AMERICAN GARDEN
IS LIKE.

Darroch is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and wears a blue suit, a white shirt, a polka dotted pale blue tie and a pocket square.

He says WHEN YOU COME TO AMERICAN
GARDENS YOU OFTEN SEE A ROW OF
HOUSES WITH LAWNS STRETCHING
ACROSS ALL OF THEM WITH NO
BOUNDARIES IN THEM.
A FEW SHRUBS WHICH FLOWER NICELY
IN THEIR SEASON, BUT THEN ARE
JUST BITS OF GREEN.

Monty says IS THAT DONE TO THE CLIMATE
OR IS IT A CULTURE?

Darroch says I THINK IT'S-IT'S CULTURE.
PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO WANT THE
BOUNDARIES.
THEY TEND TO BE HAPPY WITH THESE
BIG OPEN SPACES.

Monty says WHAT IS THE REACTION WHEN
PEOPLE COME AND SEE YOUR BORDERS
HERE?

Darroch says PEOPLE ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT,
BUT THEY THINK IT'S
QUINTESSENTIALLY ENGLISH.
THEY THINK THIS IS A PATCH OF
ENGLAND THAT'S BEEN TRANSPLANTED
TO WASHINGTON.

Monty says WHAT WILL YOU TAKE BACK WHEN
YOU GO BACK HOME?
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?

Darroch says WHAT WILL LEAVE A REAL
IMPRESSION ON ME IS THE AMERICAN
LANDSCAPE, THE VARIETY OF IT,
AND THE SHEER VASTNESS OF IT.
AND, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN'T
RECREATE THAT IN THE UK, BUT IT
IS JUST SO MEMORABLE IT IMPRINTS
ITSELF ON YOUR MIND.
IT'S JUST SOMETHING YOU REMEMBER
FOREVER, AND SOMETHING WILL
KEEP COMING BACK TO.

(music plays)

Monty says THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED.
SHORTLY AFTER OUR MEETING,
AMBASSADOR DARROCH DID LEAVE
WASHINGTON, BUT WITH HIS WORDS
IN MIND, I SET OFF TO SEE HOW
THAT VAST LANDSCAPE INSPIRED
AMERICAN GARDENS.
JUST DOWN THE ROAD FROM THE
EMBASSY AND SIGNIFICANTLY IN
DIRECT LINE OF SIGHT OF THE
WHITE HOUSE IS A MEMORIAL TO
ONE OF AMERICA'S FOUNDING
FATHERS.
THIS MONUMENT IS DEDICATED TO
ONE OF THE EARLIEST AND GREATEST
PRESIDENTS, THOMAS JEFFERSON, A
GIANT OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
JEFFERSON WAS AMERICA'S THIRD
PRESIDENT AND THE PRINCIPAL
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE, AND UNDER HIS
LEADERSHIP, THE NEW NATION
DOUBLED IN SIZE.
YET WHILST HE WAS RUNNING THE
COUNTRY, HE WAS PLANNING AND
DREAMING OF HIS GARDEN.
HE WAS A PASSIONATE GUY, AND AS
SOON AS HE WAS OUT OF OFFICE,
HE WENT TO HIS HOME IN VIRGINIA
TO DEVOTE THE REST OF HIS LIFE
TO HIS ESTATE AND HIS GARDEN.
SO, THAT IS WHERE I'M GOING NOW.

(music plays)

Monty says THIS IS MONTICELLO, JEFFERSON'S
ESTATE NEAR CHARLOTTESVILLE IN
VIRGINIA, AND PERHAPS THE MOST
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT GARDEN
IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.
JEFFERSON INHERITED 5,000 ACRES
OF LAND HERE FROM HIS FATHER
AND ITS CULTIVATION BECAME HIS
LIFE'S WORK, AND WHEN HE DIED
IN 1826, HE WAS BURIED HERE IN
THE GROUNDS.
IN 1769, AT THE AGE OF 25,
JEFFERSON BEGAN BUILDING A
HOUSE ON THE SITE.
AT THAT TIME, THIS WAS RIGHT ON
THE FRONTIER.
ALL THE LAND, THE WEST, WAS
LARGELY UNEXPLORED.

An animated map shows the location of Monticello.

Monty says SO, TO ESTABLISH A
SOPHISTICATED ESTATE HERE WAS
HUGELY AMBITIOUS, BUT IT SEEMS
THAT NO ASPECT OF THIS, HOWEVER
BIG OR SMALL, DAUNTED HIM.
JEFFERSON OVERSAW EVERY TINY
DETAIL OF MONTICELLO, NOT JUST
THE BRICKS AND MORTAR, BUT EVERY
DETAIL OF THE FURNITURE AND THE
DOOR HANDLES AND THE CLOCKS WERE
DOWN TO HIM.
THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE, HE ADDED,
REMODELLED, AND ABOVE ALL,
RECORDED EVERY ASPECT OF THE
ESTATE, INCLUDING ALL PARTS OF
THE GARDEN. AND IT'S THERE THAT
WE REALLY SEE HIS ALMOST
OBSESSIVE EYE FOR OBSERVING AND
CHRONICLING DETAIL.
FOR ALL HIS LOVE OF THE GARDEN,
JEFFERSON WASN'T REALLY MUCH A
HANDS ON GARDENER.
WHEN ONE OF HIS GARDENERS WAS
ASKED, DID HE GARDEN, THEY
WOULD SAY, "OH, YES, INDEED.
"YOU KNOW, ON OCCASIONS HE
MIGHT COME OUT FOR AS LONG AS 30
MINUTES AT A TIME."
HIS INVOLVEMENT WAS REALLY MORE
OF A SCIENTIST, AND THE FLOWER
BORDERS REFLECT THAT VERY
CLEARLY.
THE DOMINANT ONE IS THIS LONG,
THIN STRIP RIGHT ROUND THE
CENTRAL LAWN, WHICH IS DIVIDED
INTO TEN FOOT, THAT'S THREE
METER BLOCKS, AND EACH BLOCK
WILL BE FILLED WITH PLANTS
USUALLY COLLECTED FROM SEED FROM
ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHICH HE
WOULD THEN OBSERVE AND
METICULOUSLY RECORD.
BUT THE MOST FAMOUS PART OF THE
GARDEN IS SET A LITTLE AWAY AND
BELOW THE HOUSE, AND IT'S THIS,
A THOUSAND FOOT LONG VEGETABLE
GARDEN CUT INTO THE HILLSIDE.
WHEN HE RETURNED TO MONTICELLO
IN 1809 AFTER COMPLETING HIS
PRESIDENCY, JEFFERSON PLANTED
OVER 330 VARIETIES OF
VEGETABLES.
MOST FAILED TO THRIVE IN THE
FIERCE VIRGINIAN CLIMATE.
BUT THE AMBITION OF IT TELLS US
MUCH ABOUT JEFFERSON'S PASSION
FOR VEGETABLE GROWING.
YOUNG PEAS ARE STARTING TO MAKE
THEIR WAY UP THE SUPPORT, AND
THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN A REALLY
IMPORTANT HARVEST HERE AT
MONTICELLO.
IN FACT, SO MUCH SO THAT
JEFFERSON HAD A COMPETITION FOR
WHAT HE CALLED THE PEA CLUB, AND
THE WINNER WOULD THROW A DINNER
AND PART OF THAT DINNER, OF
COURSE, WOULD BE PEAS FROM THE
GARDEN, AND YOU MUST REMEMBER
THAT THESE WERE SUCH A TREAT.
THERE'S NO WAY OF STORING THEM
WITHOUT DRYING THEM.
SO, FRESH GREEN PEAS OF THE
SEASON AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE WAS
AN ANNUAL FESTIVAL ALMOST.
IT'S ALSO SAID OF JEFFERSON,
WHICH I LIKE, IS THAT HE ONLY
ACTUALLY WON IT ONCE, BUT HE
SEEMED TO TAKE AS MUCH PLEASURE
IN OTHER'S SUCCESS AS HIS OWN.
BUT THERE IS A MUCH MORE
COMPLEX HISTORY TO THE GARDEN
THAN THE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS OF GROWING FINE
VEGETABLES.
THE MAJORITY OF THE COLOSSAL
WORK CARVING THE GARDEN OUT OF
THE HILLSIDE WAS DONE BY
SLAVES, INCLUDING BUILDING THIS
ENORMOUS RETAINING WALL ALONG
THE LENGTH OF THE ENTIRE
VEGETABLE GARDEN.
NYA BATES IS A HISTORIAN OF
SLAVERY AT MONTICELLO.

Nya is in her thirties, with mid-length braided brown hair and wears jeans, a white shirt and a black cardigan sweater.

Nya says JEFFERSON OWNED OVER 600
PEOPLE DURING THE COURSE OF HIS
LIFETIME.
OVER 400 OF THOSE PEOPLE LIVED
AND WORKED HERE AT MONTICELLO.

Monty says YOU SAY HE OWNED 600 PEOPLE.
THAT'S AN INCREDIBLE THING TO
SAY.

Nya says THE ENSLAVED PEOPLE HERE ARE
TREATED AS PROPERTY, THE SAME AS
CATTLE AND ANIMALS, AND AT THE
END OF HIS LIFE, THEY'RE PUT UP
FOR AUCTION.

Monty says JEFFERSON IS PORTRAYED AS A
VERY ENLIGHTENED MAN. AND YET
THAT DOES SEEM TO BE AT ODDS,
DOESN'T IT?

Nya says IT DOES, IT DOES.
THE ENTIRETY OF HIS CAREER HE'S
WRITING ABOUT THE INSTITUTION
OF SLAVERY, AND HE'S OUTSPOKEN
AGAINST THE INSTITUTION ITSELF,
BUT DOES VERY LITTLE TO ACTUALLY
END SLAVERY.

Monty says AND DO WE KNOW HOW HE TREATED
THEM?

Nya says MONTICELLO, AS ELSEWHERE,
EXPERIENCED A LOT OF VIOLENCE.
ENSLAVED PEOPLE HERE ARE
PUNISHED.
THEY'RE SOLD, THEIR FAMILIES ARE
SEPARATED, AND THEY EXPERIENCED
A LOT OF PAIN.

Monty says WHAT ABOUT THE GARDENS
THEMSELVES?

Nya says THIS 1,000-FOOT LONG GARDEN
WAS TERRACED BY HAND, FOR THE
MOST PART.
THE ENSLAVED PEOPLE REALLY
SHAPED THIS LANDSCAPE.
THIS KITCHEN GARDEN IS OFTEN
REFERRED TO AS THE ELLIS ISLAND
OF GARDENS.
LOTS OF DIFFERENT PLANTS FROM
AROUND THE WORLD.

Monty says CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME EXAMPLES
OF ANY OF THE VEGETABLES OR
CROPS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN BY
ENSLAVED PEOPLE THAT HAVE BECOME
ASSIMILATED INTO AMERICAN
CULTURE?

Nya says ABSOLUTELY.
THE SWEET POTATO, PATTY PAN
SQUASH, SESAME, PEANUTS.
ONE OF THE INTERESTING STORIES
WE TELL HERE IS ABOUT THOMAS
JEFFERSON'S FAMILY'S RECIPE FOR
OKRA SOUP, AND OKRA IS, OF
COURSE, A WEST AFRICAN
VEGETABLE.
I THINK AFRICAN FOOD WAYS AND
TRADITIONAL WAYS OF COOKING
GREATLY INFLUENCED AMERICAN
CUISINE.

Monty says THIS EXTRAORDINARY
VEGETABLE GARDEN IS
MONTICELLO'S HORTICULTURAL
LEGACY, AND JEFFERSON REMAINED
DEEPLY INVOLVED WITH IT
THROUGHOUT THE REST OF HIS
LIFE.
RIGHT UP TO HIS DEATH IN 1826,
JEFFERSON WAS WRITING TO PEOPLE
ASKING, EVEN BEGGING FOR MORE
SEEDS, MORE PLANTS THAT HE COULD
TRIAL AND GROW HERE.
HE WAS COMPLETELY OBSESSIVE
ABOUT HIS GARDEN AND
PARTICULARLY THE PLANTS IN IT.
BUT THE GARDEN WAS BUILT BY
SLAVES.
I MEAN, TAME MOTHER MAN AND ALL
FURNITURE, ALL THE THINGS THAT
ARE ATTRIBUTED TO JEFFERSON'S
GENIUS DEPENDED UPON SLAVERY.
THE CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN
JEFFERSON'S WISDOM AND HUMANITY
AS A STATESMAN.
THE HORTICULTURAL IMPORTANCE OF
THE GARDEN AND ITS HISTORY OF
SLAVERY REMAIN UNCOMFORTABLE,
UNRESOLVED, AND THIS VISIT
MAKES ME REALIZE THAT THE
LEGACY OF SLAVERY IS STILL VERY
PRESENT IN MANY PARTS OF
AMERICA.
BUT DESPITE THIS, MONTICELLO
AND ITS GARDEN, ALONG WITH ALL
ITS COMPLEX HISTORY, IS A PLACE
OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE AND IS
VISITED AND STUDIED BY OVER
HALF A MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR.

(music plays)

Monty says BEFORE HEADING FURTHER SOUTH,
I'VE DECIDED TO CROSS THE BLUE
RIDGE MOUNTAINS INTO WHAT THEY
CALL HORSE COUNTRY.

He stands next to a big country house and says THIS IS THE VIRGINIAN HOME OF
RACHEL MELLON, WHO WAS KNOWN AS
BUNNY.
SHE DIED IN 2014 AT THE AGE OF
103, AND SHE WAS WIDELY
ACKNOWLEDGED AS ONE OF THE MOST
INFLUENTIAL GARDENERS IN
AMERICA.
IN ADDITION TO THE FOUR OTHER
HOMES SHE OWNED AND COUNTLESS
GARDENS FOR FRIENDS AND
CLIENTS, BUNNY ALSO DESIGNED
VARIOUS GARDENS IN THE WHITE
HOUSE, INCLUDING THE JACQUELINE
KENNEDY GARDEN, AND THE
LANDSCAPED PRESIDENT JOHN F.
KENNEDY'S GRAVESITE AT
ARLINGTON CEMETERY.
BUT HER HOME AT OAK SPRING IN
UPPERVILLE, VIRGINIA, WAS HER
FAVOURITE.
THE MAIN GARDEN IS BEHIND THIS
DOOR.
THIS IS NOT WHAT I HAD EXPECTED
AT ALL.
BUNNY MELLON WAS ONE OF THE
RICHEST WOMAN IN AMERICA, AND
SOMEHOW I HAD EXPECTED A
GRANDIOSE HOUSE AND-AND AN
EXTRAVAGANT, EVEN OSTENTATIOUS
GARDEN, AND OBVIOUSLY IT'S NOT
LIKE THAT.
IT'S NOT SO MUCH MODEST AS-AS
CHARMING AND COMPLETELY
UNEXPECTED.
THIS RATHER HIDDEN, MAGICAL
GARDEN.
OBVIOUSLY, THE FIRST THING IS
THESE COLORS GENTLY DANCING
AROUND.
IT'S BRIGHT.
IT'S SUBTLE AND ALL THE TONES
ARE PERFECTLY HARMONIOUS.
IN FACT, THE MORE I LOOK,
HARMONY SEEMS TO BE A KEY.
BUNNY MELLON NEVER HAD ANY
FORMAL TRAINING, BUT SHE WAS
FASCINATED BY HORTICULTURE FROM
AN EARLY AGE.
AS A YOUNG GIRL, SHE APPARENTLY
CREATED MINIATURE GARDENS IN
SEED TREES, AND SPENT HOURS
SHADOWING THE GARDENERS WORKING
AT HER HOME IN PRINCETON, NEW
JERSEY.
WHEN BUNNY MELLON WAS A CHILD,
SHE WALKED TO SCHOOL BENEATH
AN AVENUE OF APPLE TREES, AND
SHE SAID SHE GREW TO LOVE THEM
INDIVIDUALLY.
THE BLOSSOM IN SPRING, THE FRUIT
AND THE SHADE IN SUMMER, AND
THEN THE STARK OUTLINE OF EACH
INDIVIDUAL TREE IN WINTER, AND
YOU SEE APPLES ALL OVER THIS
GARDEN, BUT THE ULTIMATE
EXPRESSION OF LOVE FOR APPLE
TREES IS BEHIND THESE DOORS
WHERE SHE'S CREATED AN ALLEY OF
CRAB APPLES.
SHE CREATED A DESIGN THAT
APPEARS UNFORCED AND ENTIRELY
NATURAL. BUT I KNOW FROM
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT TO
MAKE THINGS LOOK LIKE THEY'RE
HAPPENING NATURALLY TAKES A
METICULOUS ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
I LIKE THE STORY OF HOW THIS
TOP TERRACE ACQUIRED ITS
PARTICULAR LOOK BECAUSE THE
STONES WERE QUARRIED ON THE
ESTATE BY TWO FULL TIME
STONEMASONS, CUT TO SIZE AND
BOUGHT IN HERE AND STARTED TO BE
LAID.

The terrace floor has grass growing through the cracks on the stones.

Monty says AND BUNNY MELLON WAS WATCHING
WHEN THIS STONE HERE BROKE AND
THE STONEMASON APPARENTLY WANTED
TO LIFT IT OUT AND REPLACE IT
WITH A NEW GOOD ONE, AND SHE
SAID, "NO, DON'T, I LIKE IT.
I LIKE THE WAY THAT IT'S GOT A
CRACK THERE," AND THEN SHE WENT
AND GOT A HAMMER AND STARTED TO
CHIP OFF CORNERS OF OTHERWISE
GOOD STONES.
YOU CAN SEE HERE.
AND SHE GOT SEED OF HERBS AND
FLOWERS AND SPRINKLED THEM IN
THERE.
AND THAT'S HOW THIS TERRACE
ACQUIRE THE APPEARANCE OF AGE
AND THAT PATINA OF TIME IS WHAT
SHE WAS ABLE TO SO CLEVERLY
INTRODUCE.
THIS ATTENTION TO DETAIL
EXTENDED OUT FROM BUNNY
MELLON'S GARDEN TO THE
LANDSCAPE BEYOND.
SHE TOOK PAINSTAKING CARE OVER
WHERE EACH INDIVIDUAL TREE WAS
PLANTED AND HOW IT WAS PRUNED.
AND IN MANY WAYS, YOU KNOW,
SHE WAS VERY SIMILAR TO THOMAS
JEFFERSON.
SHE KEPT DETAILED NOTES ABOUT
EVERYTHING AND WAS CONSTANTLY
TRIALLING NEW PLANTS, NEW IDEAS,
AND HER LEGACY REALLY WAS TO
GIVE THIS NEW COUNTRY A
CONFIDENCE TO HAVE A SLIGHTLY
WEATHERED FEEL.
TO TRUST THAT NOT EVERYTHING HAD
TO BE BRAND NEW, AND SHE BECAME
THE MEASURE, THE YARDSTICK OF
TASTE AND STYLE.

(music plays)

The animated map shows the location of Charleston, South Carolina.

Monty says I'M NOW LEAVING THE STATE OF
VIRGINIA FOR CHARLESTON IN
SOUTH CAROLINA.
CHARLESTON IS 500 MILES SOUTH
OF MONTICELLO, AND ONE OF THE
OLDEST CITIES IN THE COUNTRY,
FOUNDED WHEN AMERICA WAS STILL
A NEW BRITISH COLONY.
CHARLESTON OR CHARLESTOWN, AS
IT WAS KNOWN AS AFTER CHARLES
THE SECOND WAS FIRST SETTLED IN
THE 1670S, AND THEN FROM THE
MIDDLE OF THE 18TH CENTURY INTO
THE 19TH CENTURY, IT BECAME
ENORMOUSLY PROSPEROUS OFF THE
BACK OF RICE, WHICH WAS KNOWN AS
CHARLESTON GOLD, AND THAT RICE
DEPENDED UPON VAST NUMBERS OF
SLAVES TO GROW IT, AND THEIR
OWNERS, AS THEY WERE, MADE
ENORMOUS WEALTH REFLECTED IN THE
HOUSES YOU SEE HERE AND IN THE
PLANTATIONS UPRIVER.
I THOUGHT THAT BY COMING SOUTH
I'D GET SOME SUNSHINE, BUT IN
FACT IT'S BEEN RAINING ALL
MORNING AND IS SAID TO GET
WORSE, BUT THAT DOESN'T DAMPEN
MY ENTHUSIASM, BECAUSE I'M ABOUT
TO VISIT MIDDLETON PLACE, WHICH
IS THE OLDEST LANDSCAPED GARDEN
IN AMERICA, AND SOMEWHERE THAT
I'VE WANTED TO SEE FOR YEARS.
THIS PLANTATION IS ABOUT 20
MILES UPRIVER FROM CHARLESTON
AND WAS ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED
IN THE MID 17TH CENTURY.
MIDDLETON HOUSE WAS BUILT
NEARLY 100 YEARS LATER BY HENRY
MIDDLETON, WHO WAS ONE OF THE
BIGGEST LANDOWNERS IN THE
STATE, WITH 800 SLAVES WORKING
ACROSS SOME 60,000 ACRES.
HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING
THE LANDSCAPE GARDENS HERE.
HIS GRANDFATHER, EDWARD
MIDDLETON, HAD EMIGRATED TO
AMERICA FROM ENGLAND, AND HENRY
STILL THOUGHT OF HIMSELF AS AN
ENGLISHMAN.
SO SET OUT TO CREATE AN ENGLISH
GARDEN.
SYDNEY FRASIER IS THE VICE
PRESIDENT OF HORTICULTURE.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN HERE?

Sydney is in his forties, clean-shaven, and wears khaki trousers, a short-sleeved shirt and a white flat cap.

He says WELL, THIS IS MY 45TH YEAR,
BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

Monty says YOU DON'T LOOK OLD ENOUGH TO
BE HERE 45 YEARS.

Sydney says OH, THANK YOU.
I THINK IT'S ALL ABOUT
GARDENING.

Monty says THAT'S KEEPING YOU YOUNG.
WE KNOW THAT THIS IS THE OLDEST
LANDSCAPED GARDEN, BUT WAS THERE
A LOT OF EUROPEAN INFLUENCE?
OR WAS IT AN AMERICAN GARDEN
FROM THE BEGINNING?

Sydney says I THINK IT'S A MIXTURE OF
BOTH.
THE MIDDLETONS WOULD HAVE
TRAVELED THROUGHOUT EUROPE
BEFORE THEY EVEN CAME TO
AMERICA, AND THEY BROUGHT THOSE
THOUGHTS BACK WITH THEM HERE,
BUT ALSO ADDED WHAT THEY WANTED
TO ADD TO THE GARDENS.

Monty says THE MOST ICONIC IMAGE
OF THE FORMAL GARDENS IS THIS
TERRACED GRASS BANK, THAT LEADS
DOWN TO A PAIR OF BUTTERFLY
LAKES AND THE RIVER BEYOND.
THIS IS A VERY SPECTACULAR
VIEW.

Sydney says WELL, THERE'S THE ASHLEY
RIVER.
THE ASHLEY RIVER WHO WOULD HAVE
BEEN A HIGHWAY FOR THE
MIDDLETONS AND EVERYONE LIVING
ALONG THIS RIVERSIDE.

Monty says SO VISITORS WOULD ARRIVE AND
LOOK UP HERE?

Sydney says THEY WOULD HAVE ARRIVED AND
THEY WOULD HAVE LOOKED UP AND
SAW THIS GRAND GARDEN WITH THE
HOUSE STANDING IN THE BACK.

Monty says PRESUMABLY THESE WERE DUG.
THESE PONDS WEREN'T THERE?

Sydney says THESE WERE ALL CARVED OUT OF
THE EARTH.

Monty says IT'S VERY EARLY IN TERMS OF
AMERICAN HISTORY, ISN'T IT, TO
MAKE A GARDEN LIKE THIS?

Sydney says IT IS, IT IS, AND WHAT I LOVE
ABOUT IT IS THAT THIS IS THE
ONLY GARDEN LIKE THIS ONE IN
AMERICA.
WE HAVE OVER 100,000 AZALEAS,
OVER 10,000 CAMELIA JAPONICAS.
THIS IS THE GARDEN.

Monty says I SEE THERE'S AN ALLIGATOR
DOWN THERE BY THE POND.
IS THAT A GARDEN PROBLEM?

Sydney says I THINK THIS IS HOME FOR
THEM.

Monty says RIGHT.

Sydney says YEAH.

Monty says IT'S FAIRLY EXOTIC FOR ME TO
SEE AN ALLIGATOR JUST IDLING ON
THE LAWN IN THE GARDEN.

(music plays)

Monty says THE TREES AT MIDDLETON ARE
SUPERB, WITH SWEEPING BRANCHES
DRAPED WITH SPANISH MOSS.
BUT OF ALL THE MANY MAGNIFICENT
TREES, THERE IS ONE THAT IS
EXTRA SPECIAL.
THIS IS THE MIDDLETON OAK, AND
IT'S BETWEEN 900 AND 1,000 YEARS
OLD, WHICH MEANS THAT IT WAS
HERE GROWING WHEN COLUMBUS
ARRIVED IN AMERICA.
IT'S SEEN THE GARDEN CREATED AND
THE CIVIL WAR, EARTHQUAKES,
HURRICANES, AND IT'S STILL
GROWING AND NO DOUBT WILL
CONTINUE TO GROW LONG AFTER ALL
OF US HAVE BEEN AND GONE.
BUT AT THIS POINT, THE WEATHER
BECAME REALLY WILD WITH THE
RETURN OF TORRENTIAL RAIN, AND
I WAS FORCED TO BE TO RETREAT.
HOWEVER, THE STORM BLEW OVER
AND THE NEXT MORNING I WOKE TO
SUNSHINE AND BLUE SKIES, SO I
HEADED BACK TO MIDDLETON PLACE.
THE MAIN REASON THAT I'VE COME
BACK IS BECAUSE I KNOW THAT
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF AREAS LIKE
THIS ONE THAT I WAS UNABLE TO
SEE YESTERDAY THAT EXPRESS THE
FORMALITY OF THE GARDENS HERE AT
MIDDLETON, AND THAT FORMALITY,
OF COURSE, IS DERIVED FROM
EUROPE WITH ITS SYMMETRY AND
ITS GEOMETRY.

He stands next to a garden in the shape of a decagon and says THE RESULT IS A FAMILIAR
PATTERN OF A GRID CREATING
SEPARATE GARDENS, EACH WITH A
DIFFERENT THEME, BUT EACH
CONNECTED BY THE OVERALL
LAYOUT.
BUT NEVERTHELESS, THIS LOOKS
TERRIBLY AMERICAN BECAUSE
THERE'S NO EUROPEAN FORMAL
GARDEN THAT IS SURROUNDED BY
THESE MAGNIFICENT OAKS DRIPPING
AND FESTOONED WITH SPANISH MOSS.
IN FACT, THIS PLANT HANGING IN
RAGS AND TATTERS FROM EVERY
BRANCH IS NEITHER SPANISH NOR
MOSS, BUT A MEMBER OF THE
BROMELIAD FAMILY NATIVE TO
THESE SOUTHERN STATES WHERE IT
THRIVES IN THE HEAT AND
HUMIDITY.
THIS IS ANOTHER OF THE FORMAL
AREAS OF THE GARDEN FRINGED BY
TREES AND TALKING OF TREES, THE
STORM THAT DROVE ME AWAY
YESTERDAY HAD ONE DISASTROUS
CONSEQUENCE.
THE HIGH WINDS BROUGHT ONE OF
THE GIANT LIMBS OF THE ANCIENT
MIDDLETON OAK CRASHING TO THE
GROUND.

(music plays)

Monty says MIDDLETON PLACE IS ONE OF THE
GREAT AMERICAN GARDENS.
BUT JUST A COUPLE OF MILES DOWN
THE ROAD IS ANOTHER PLANTATION
THAT ALSO HAS A PLACE IN
AMERICAN GARDEN HISTORY.

Herb drives Monty across the Magnolia property in a golf cart.

Herb is in his sixties, with short curly gray hair and a beard. He wears glasses, a gray jacket, a black scarf and a blue cap.

Herb says MONTY, WELCOME TO MAGNOLIA
AND THE AVENUE OF OAKS THAT
LEADS INTO THIS ANCIENT
PROPERTY, WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED
IN 1676 BY THE DRAYTON FAMILY.

Monty says HERB FRASIER, WHO'S
WORKED AT MAGNOLIA FOR OVER 10
YEARS, WAS GIVING ME A TOUR OF
THE VERY FIRST AMERICAN GARDEN
TO OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Herb says THE DRAYTONS CAME HERE FROM
BARBADOS AND THE FAMILY HAS
OWNED THIS PROPERTY FOR 13
GENERATIONS SINCE THEN.
THIS BRIDGE TO OUR LEFT WAS
BUILT IN THE 1840S, AND THIS IS
THE ICONIC IMAGE OF MAGNOLIA.
IN 1870, THE REVEREND JOHN
GRIMKE DRAYTON OPENED THE GATES
TO MAGNOLIA TO THE PUBLIC, WHICH
MAKES MAGNOLIA CHARLESTON'S
FIRST TOURIST ATTRACTION.

Monty says IT'S A LONG STANDING
REPUTATION.

Herb says YEAH.
THIS IS THE NINE ROOM MANSION
THAT WAS PLACED ON THIS PROPERTY
AFTER THE CIVIL WAR.
THE HOUSE THAT WAS ON THAT SITE
AT THAT TIME DURING THE WAR WAS
BURNED BY UNION TROOPS.

Monty says I'M BEGINNING TO REALIZE
THAT FOR THESE PROPERTIES, THE
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR STILL LOOMS
LARGE.
ALTHOUGH THE PLANTATION DATES
FROM THE LATE 17TH CENTURY, THE
GARDENS FOR WHICH ITS FAMED
WERE NOT BEGUN UNTIL THE 1830S.
BY THEN TASTES WERE CHANGING
AND THE MAGNOLIA GARDENS
ENTHUSIASTICALLY EMBRACE THIS
NEW DIRECTION IN HORTICULTURAL
STYLE.
THE RESULT WAS A LOOSER, A MUCH
LESS FORMAL DESIGN AND MANNER
OF PLANTING.
THIS WAS INFLUENCED AND INSPIRED
BY THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT OF THE
EARLY 19TH CENTURY IN EUROPE
AND HAS SINCE BECOME KNOWN HERE
IN AMERICA AS THE ROMANTIC
STYLE OF GARDENING, AND THE BIG
DIFFERENCE WAS THAT INSTEAD OF
TRYING TO CONTROL NATURE, IT
EMBRACED IT.
IN THESE ROMANTIC GARDENS THE
FORMALITY AND SYMMETRY TYPIFIED
BY MIDDLETON PLACE IS REPLACED
BY THE USE OF INFORMAL PLANTING
DESIGNED TO INSPIRE AN EMOTION
RATHER THAN AN INTELLECTUAL
RESPONSE.
THE COMBINATION OF PLANTS RAISED
SPECIFICALLY FOR GARDENS LIKE
THE AZALEAS AND THE NATURAL
PLANTS THAT ARE JUST SO ABUNDANT
HERE, WORKS BEAUTIFULLY
TOGETHER.
SO, YOU HAVE AZALEAS, AND THEN
YOU HAVE A SEEDLING OF A
WONDERFUL OAK GROWING THERE, YOU
HAVE THE HYDRANGEAS POPPING UP
ALL OVER THE PLACE, BUT BEHIND
IT, JUST A FEW FEET FROM THE
EDGE, YOU HAVE HERE THE STEM OF
A MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA, AND
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THEM
HERE JUST IN THIS ONE GARDEN.
THEY GROW LIKE WEEDS.
SO, WHEN YOU HAVE A BACKDROP AS
SPECTACULAR AS THIS GIANT
EVERGREEN TREE COVERED WITH HUGE
FLOWERS, NO WONDER YOU WANT TO
WORK WITH IT RATHER THAN AGAINST
IT.
BY 1900, THE BAEDEKER TOURIST
GUIDE WAS RATING THE MAGNOLIA
GARDENS AS ONE OF THE THREE
MOST IMPORTANT SITES IN
AMERICA, ALONG WITH THE GRAND
CANYON AND NIAGARA FALLS.
I DON'T THINK I'VE SEEN MORE
BEAUTIFUL TREES THAN THESE
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
BROTHERS TEDDY AND ISAAC LEACH,
ARE THIRD GENERATION GARDENERS
HERE AND THEY GREW UP ON THE
PLANTATION.
YOU TWO HAVE BEEN HERE A LONG
TIME HAVEN'T YOU?

Teddy is in his sixties, bald and with a goatee, and wears a pink sweater and a pink leather jacket.

He says I WAS BORN IN 1958.
MY FATHER MOVED I'D SAY WHEN I
WAS 3 YEARS OLD AND LIVED HERE
ON THE PLANTATION, YOU KNOW MOST
OF MY LIFE.

Monty says ARE YOU A BIG FAMILY?

Isaac says I'M THE YOUNGEST OUT OF
FIFTEEN.

Monty and Isaac say FIFTEEN.

Isaac is in his late forties, bald, and with a graying beard. He wears a blue sweater and a gray jacket.

Teddy says MY FATHER MANAGED THE NURSERY
FOR YEARS.
MY GRANDFATHER, WILLY LEACH, RAN
THE GARDENS FOR YEARS.

Isaac says MOST OF THE PLANTS THAT WE
SEE HERE NOW, MY GRANDFATHER
PLANTED THE MAJORITY.

Monty says DURING THE TUMULTUOUS YEARS
OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLES
IN THE 1960S, THE PLANTATION
WAS A SAFE HAVEN FOR THE
BROTHERS.

Teddy says WHEN ALL THE TROUBLES WHAT
WAS HAPPENING IN CHARLESTON,
DURING THOSE YEARS, THERE WERE
NEW SCHOOLS BEING SEGREGATED AND
WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE SOUTH
DURING THAT TIME.
WE WERE A LOT SAFER HERE IN THE
EVENINGS BECAUSE AT ONE POINT
THE GARDENS WOULD CLOSE THE
GATES AT A CERTAIN TIME AND WITH
MY FAMILY AND THE FAMILY THAT
LIVED AROUND HERE, THIS WAS OUR
PLAYGROUND.

Isaac says ONCE WE GOT HERE FROM SCHOOL,
WE HAD 500 ACRES TO DO WHAT WE
WANTED TO DO.

Monty says IT WAS BOTH A SMALL, SAFE
WORLD, AND A HUGE, GREAT
BEAUTIFUL PLAYGROUND.

Isaac says YES, PLAYGROUND.
YES.

Monty says DESPITE SHARING MUCH THE
SAME LOCATION AND HISTORY,
MAGNOLIA AND MIDDLETON PLACE
SHOW THE PROGRESSION AND QUITE
RADICAL CHANGE FROM A EUROPEAN
INSPIRED FORMALITY TO THE
ROMANTICISM THAT FEELS CLOSER
TO SOMETHING THAT IS MORE
AMERICAN.
IN CHARLESTON ITSELF, THIS
PROGRESSION IS ALSO ILLUSTRATED
AND I WANT TO VISIT TWO
GARDENS, ONE SYMMETRICAL AND
FORMAL, AND THE OTHER MUCH
LOOSER IN STYLE.
THIS IS THE GARDEN OF SUSAN
MASSAMILLO, IN ONE OF THE
OLDEST STREETS IN TOWN.
WHAT WAS THE IDEA AND HOW DID
YOU INTEND THEM TO WORK?

Susan is in her late forties, with shoulder-length straight red hair and wears light blue trousers, a navy blue embroidered blouse and sunglasses over her head.

She says WELL, FIRST, WE ENVISIONED
THREE DIFFERENT ROOMS BECAUSE
IT'S SUCH A LONG, NARROW PIECE
OF PROPERTY, AND THE FIRST ONE
I WANTED TO BE A LITTLE BIT
MORE FORMAL BECAUSE IT'S CLOSER
TO THE HOUSE AND I WANTED TO BE
WHITE BECAUSE WE WOULD ENJOY IT
FROM THE PORCH AT NIGHT.
THE SECOND ONE WITH THE LAWN
THERE IS KIND OF LIKE A PALATE
CLEANSER, IF YOU WILL, WITH THE
GREEN, AND THEN THE RIOT OF
COLOUR ON THE LEFT AND RIGHT
WOULD BE MORE OF AN ENGLISH
GARDEN.
AND IN THE BACK, THAT'S THE ONE
THAT GETS MOST SUN, AND THAT'S
WHERE WE PUT MORE OF THE
MEDITERRANEAN GREENS AND MAKE
IT MORE COOL WHEN YOU USE
THE POOL AREA.

Monty says TELL ME A LITTLE BIT MORE
ABOUT THE WEATHER.
I MEAN, WHAT ARE YOUR SUMMERS
LIKE?

Susan says VERY HOT AND HUMID.
A LOT OF THUNDERSTORMS AND THE
HEAT AND THE HUMIDITY TAKE A
TOLL ON ALL OF THE FLOWERS AND
THE ROSES.
I JUST CONSIDER THEM ANNUALS
BECAUSE THEY GET...

Monty says REALLY?

Susan says YES, BECAUSE THEY GET SO MUCH
FUNGUS ON THEM.

Monty says AND PRESUMABLY IN SUMMER WHEN
IT'S REALLY HOT YOU DO USE THE
POOL.

Susan says WE DO.
WE USE THE POOL WHILE WE EAT
OUTSIDE, OUR CHILDREN COME AND
BRING FRIENDS AND WE'RE OUT
HERE ALL THE TIME.
WE REALLY ARE.

Monty says I THINK IF I HAD THIS GARDEN
I'D BE OUT HERE ALL THE TIME,
TOO.

(music plays)

Monty says I THINK THAT'S THE FIRST TIME
I'VE HEARD OF ROSES REFERRED TO
AS ANNUALS.
IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE
CLIMATE.
I WENT TO ANOTHER GARDEN WHERE
THE OWNER, HARRIET MCDOUGAL,
HAS SPENT ALMOST HER ENTIRE
LIFE.

Harriet is in her seventies, with short slightly wavy gray hair. She wears blue trousers and a burgundy sweater.

She says I'VE LIVED HERE SINCE I WAS
ABOUT THREE.
IT WAS MY GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE
BEFORE WE CAME HERE.

Monty says DO YOU REMEMBER AS A CHILD
WHAT THIS GARDEN WAS LIKE THEN?
WERE THEY THE SAME SORT OF
PLANTS?

Harriet says YES, VERY MUCH SO.
YOU KNOW, ALL THOSE AMARYLLIS
MOTHER BEGAN PLANTING THEM, AND
SHE ALWAYS DECKED THE CHURCH ON
THE SUNDAY AFTER EASTER WITH
AMARYLLIS OUT OF THE GARDEN.

Monty says IT'S MARVELOUS TO SEE THE
AMARYLLIS GROWING OUT OF THE
GROUND, WHICH, OF COURSE, IS
IMPOSSIBLE FOR US.

Harriet says YES, IT WOULD BE, BUT IT'S...
IT'S VERY EASY HERE.

Monty says THERE'S A HUGE TREE AT THE
BACK.

Harriet says AN OAK, YES.
IT'S ONLY ABOUT 90 YEARS OLD.

Monty says THE ROSES ARE LOOKING VERY
HAPPY.

Harriet says AREN'T THEY?
I'M TICKLED TO DEATH WITH THEM.
VERY PLEASED.
THAT IS AN ENGLISH ROSE.
AND I THINK IT'S BRED FROM AN
HEIRLOOM.

Monty says A REAL CHARM.

Harriet says THANK YOU.

(music plays)

Monty says IT'S CLEAR THAT THE
POWERFUL COMBINATION OF CLIMATE
AND HISTORY HAS SHAPED ALL
KINDS OF GARDENS HERE IN SOUTH
CAROLINA.
BUT NOW I'M CONTINUING MY
JOURNEY SOUTH TO MIAMI IN
FLORIDA, AND TO A TOTALLY
DIFFERENT CLIMATE.

He walks down the beach and says THIS IS MIAMI BEACH.
AT THE VERY TIP OF THE EASTERN
SEABOARD WHERE THE ATLANTIC
MEETS THE CARIBBEAN AND THE PALM
TREES FRINGE THE SAND AND THE
SEA BENEATH THE TROPICAL SUN.
WHICH IS NOT SOMETHING YOU
WOULD NECESSARILY EXPECT TO
FIND A TRIBUTE TO 16TH CENTURY
RENAISSANCE ITALY.
I VISITED HUNDREDS OF GARDENS
ALL OVER THE WORLD, BUT THIS IS
ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY.
IN AMONGST THE PALMS AND THE
MANGROVE SWAMPS WITH A BACKDROP
OF MIAMI'S CITYSCAPE IS AN
ITALIANATE PALACE AND ITS 12
ACRES OF ELABORATE FORMAL
GARDENS.
SET AT THE EDGE OF THE OCEAN,
VISKAYA IS AN OPERATIC VENETIAN
FANTASY BUILT AS A WINTER
RETREAT FOR AN INDUSTRIAL
MILLIONAIRE WHOSE MONEY CAME
FROM THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE
COMBINE HARVESTER.
BUT FOR ALL HIS WEALTH, THE
OWNER, JAMES DEERING, SUFFERED
FROM POOR HEALTH, AND HE CAME
TO FLORIDA TO CONVALESCE AND HE
FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CLIMATE
AND DECIDED TO BUILD A HOUSE
HERE IN THE BAY AREA, JUST
SOUTH OF MIAMI.
WORK BEGAN ON THE HOUSE IN 1912.
FOUR YEARS LATER, JAMES DEERING
ARRIVED TO SPEND HIS FIRST NIGHT
IN HIS NEW HOUSE, AND THEREAFTER
LIKE HIM, ALL THE GUESTS WOULD
COME IN ACROSS THE SEA HERE
INTO THIS LITTLE INLET THAT HE
HAD BUILT, PROTECTED BY THE
BREAKWATER, DESIGNED TO LOOK
LIKE A BARGE.
SO, THAT THEY CLIMBED UP THE
STEPS, PASSING THROUGH A KIND OF
LITTLE VENICE FRINGED BY PALM
TREES.
THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY IN
AMERICA WAS A PERIOD OF RAPID
ECONOMIC GROWTH.
VAST FORTUNES WERE MADE AND
THEN SPENT BUILDING SOME OF
AMERICA'S GREATEST ESTATES.
MANY OF THESE NEW MILLIONAIRES
SET OUT TO BUY THE STYLE AND
SOPHISTICATION OF THE OLD
WORLD, AND THEY WERE OBSESSED
WITH ONE PARTICULAR PERIOD OF
EUROPEAN HISTORY.
AS THE GUESTS CAME AROUND THE
TERRACE BY THE HOUSE, THEY COULD
LOOK OUT ONTO AN ENORMOUS GARDEN
INSPIRED BY AND CHERRY PICKING
FROM THE VERY BEST OF THE
RENAISSANCE GARDENS OF ITALY.
THE GARDENS OF THE 16TH AND
17TH CENTURY ITALY WERE
PLUNDERED FOR IDEAS AND FORMS.
BASED UPON THE CLASSICAL
NOTIONS OF ORDER AND BEAUTY,
ITALIAN RENAISSANCE GARDENS
FEATURED WATER, GROTTOS, AND
SCULPTURES SET IN ORNATELY
CLIPPED HEDGES.
VISKAYA HAS ALL OF THIS AND
MORE.
AND ALTHOUGH THIS IS AN
ASSEMBLY, A GREATEST HITS, IF
YOU LIKE, IT ACTUALLY ALL HANGS
TOGETHER, AND IT IS DERIVATIVE,
BUT OF ITS TIME AND ITS PLACE
IT IS UNIQUE.
AND IF RE-CREATING A
RENAISSANCE PALAZZO WASN'T
ENOUGH, IT WAS ALSO ALL BUILT
ON A SWAMP.
THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF
HORTICULTURE, IAN SIMPKINS,
TOLD ME ABOUT THE EXTRAORDINARY
DIFFICULTIES THAT HAD TO BE
OVERCOME TO MAKE THE GARDEN.

Ian is in his forties, bald and with a graying beard. He wears khaki jeans and a blue plaid shirt.

He says IT WAS EIGHT YEARS OF HARD
WORK AND HARD LABOUR.
AT ONE POINT THERE WERE ALMOST
1,000 PEOPLE EMPLOYED IN THE
MAKING OF THE HOUSE AND THE
GARDENS.
THIS WAS BUILT FROM NOTHING,
ESSENTIALLY FROM A MANGROVE
SWAMP.

Monty says AND HOW MUCH WAS DEERING
INVOLVED IN IT FROM THE
BEGINNING?

Ian says HE WAS A VERY ACTIVE
PARTICIPANT.
WE HAVE MULTITUDES OF TELEGRAMS,
SOME OF WHICH ARE QUITE SPIRITED
BETWEEN HE AND THE GARDEN'S
CREATORS.

Monty says I SUPPOSE YOU HAVE TO THINK
THAT HE WAS AN ENORMOUSLY
WEALTHY MAN.

Ian says YEAH, HE REALLY WAS ABLE TO
CREATE ANYTHING THAT HE WANTED.
IT WAS A PERFORMANCE.

Monty says RIGHT.

Ian says THEY WERE INTENDING TO CREATE
SOMETHING THAT WOULD TRANSPORT
YOU THROUGH THE MISTY VALES OF
TIME TO SOMEWHERE ELSE, TO
ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE.

Monty says IS IT EASY TO MAINTAIN?

Ian says THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST
DIFFICULT GARDEN I'VE EVER
WORKED IN.
MR. DEERING CHOSE TO BUILD
RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF BISCAYNE
BAY AT AN ELEVATION OF SLIGHTLY
ABOVE A METER.
SO, WE'RE VULNERABLE TO EVERY
HURRICANE THAT COMES THROUGH.

Monty says WHAT WE'RE LEFT WITH IS AN
EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE BY
ANY STANDARDS ANYWHERE IN THE
WORLD, DRAWING UPON EUROPEAN
CULTURE IN A SUBTROPICAL
SETTING, WHICH, AS YOU SAY, WAS
A SWAMP.

Ian says YEAH.

Monty says SO, THAT IS A HEROIC, EPIC
ACHIEVEMENT.

Ian says THIS REALLY IS ONE OF THE
PREMIER EXAMPLES OF WHAT
UNLIMITED WEALTH AND UNLIMITED
OPTIMISM CAN DO.
AMERICA IS A LAND OF PASTICHE
AND MULTITUDES OF CULTURES
COMING TOGETHER, AND I THINK
THAT REALLY CREATES A BLANK
CANVAS.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS REALLY
UNIQUE ABOUT AMERICAN GARDENS IS
THAT THEY ARE IN A WAY
LIMITLESS.
THEY CAN BE A PRODUCT OF YOUR
UNFETTERED IMAGINATION.
YOU CAN MAKE WHATEVER YOU WANT.
THIS REALLY, EVEN THOUGH IT'S
VERY MUCH EUROPEAN IN SO MANY
WAYS, I THINK IT'S ALSO VERY
MUCH AMERICAN.

(music plays)

Monty says THIS PAVILION IS
APPARENTLY WHERE JAMES DEERING
CAME TO GET AWAY FROM HIS GUESTS
WHEN THEY BECAME A TOO MUCH FOR
HIM.
HE WAS, AFTER ALL, A VERY
PRIVATE MAN AND THE GARDEN WAS
COMPLETED IN 1922, BUT HE DIDN'T
HAVE LONG TO ENJOY IT.
HE DIED JUST A FEW YEARS LATER.
BUT WHAT REMAINS IS BOTH
BEAUTIFUL AND I THINK,
FASCINATING.
IT'S NOT JUST A MONUMENT TO A
MAN, BUT ALSO A REALLY IMPORTANT
PERIOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY.
AND TO MAKE A GARDEN AS A
MONUMENT IS A WONDERFUL THING.
THERE IS A SENSE THAT AT
VISKAYA MONEY COULD BUY
ANYTHING, BUT ALL THE MONEY IN
THE WORLD CAN'T MAKE SOME
PLANTS THRIVE IN A FLORIDA
SWAMP.
HOWEVER, THERE ARE EXOTIC
NATIVE SPECIES THAT LOVE THESE
CONDITIONS.
SO, I JOINED PREM SUBRAMANIAM,
WHO'S OFFERED TO TAKE ME WITH
HIM TO FLORIDA'S BIG CYPRESS
PRESERVE TO HUNT FOR ORCHIDS.
IT'S A LITTLE EARLY IN THE
SEASON FOR MANY ORCHIDS, BUT
YOU NEVER KNOW.
I MIGHT JUST GET LUCKY.

Prem is in his late thirties, bald and with a beard. He wears glasses, jeans, a white shirt and a cream vest.

Monty says IS THE TRAIL LIKE THIS ALL
THE WAY?

Prem says THERE ARE PARTS WHERE IT GETS
A LITTLE BIT WOODIER.
OKAY.
SO HERE'S A LOVELY THING TO SEE.
THIS IS SAW PALMETTO.
SOME OF THESE PLANTS COULD BE
HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD.

Monty says RIGHT.

Prem says AND THEY HAVE A DELICIOUS
FRAGRANCE, KIND OF A LITTLE BIT
OF A COCONUT.

Monty says AND IS THIS INDIGENOUS TO
THIS PART OF THE WORLD?

Prem says YES.

Monty says DO YOU THINK THAT THE MODERN
AVERAGE AMERICAN IS IN CONTACT
WITH THE NATURAL WORLD?

Prem says I BELIEVE FOR THE AVERAGE
AMERICAN, PROBABLY THEY ARE NOT
IN CONTACT WITH THE NATURAL
WORLD AT ALL.

Monty says AND WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS
OF THAT?

Prem says I THINK WITHOUT AN
APPRECIATION FOR NATURE, YOU
DON'T REALLY BAT AN EYE WHEN
IT'S GONE.

Monty says HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN
ORCHIDS?

Prem says ORCHIDS, THEY HAVE SO MANY
DIFFERENT SIZES AND SHAPES
RANGING FROM SEVERAL THEY CAN
FIT ON THE HEAD OF A PIN VERSUS
A LARGE FLOWER THAT HAS PETALS
THREE FEET LONG.

Monty says SO, IT WAS A FASCINATION WITH
THE DIVERSITY THAT GOT YOU?

Prem says THEIR DIVERSITY AS WELL AS
THE INTERESTING MECHANISMS THAT
THEY HAVE JUST TO FOOL INSECTS
INTO ELABORATE TRAPS WHERE THE
ONLY WAY OUT IS EXACTLY WHERE
THE POLLEN IS.

Monty says RIGHT.
I CAN SEE FROM THE WAY YOU'RE
TALKING THAT YOU STILL FIND
THESE BASIC THINGS COMPLETELY
ABSORBING AND FASCINATING.

Prem says YES, YES.

Monty says WOULD IT BE RUDE OR FAIR TO
CALL YOU AN ORCHID GEEK?

Prem says OH, THAT WOULD BE A COMPLETE
ACCURATE TERM.

Monty says RIGHT.

Prem says COMPLETELY ACCURATE.

Monty says SO, NOW, THIS IS DISTINCTLY
SWAMP.

Prem says YES.

Monty says LOTS OF FERNS, BROMELIADS.
LOTS OF CYPRESS NEEDLES TO TRIP
US UP.

Prem says YES, THIS AREA HERE HAS BEEN
NICKNAMED THE AMAZON OF THE
UNITED STATES.

Monty says MANY OF THE ORCHIDS
GROWING HERE ARE EPIPHYTES,
ANCHORING THEMSELVES TO TREES,
BUT ROOTING INTO THE AIR.
THERE'S SO MUCH ORGANIC MATTER.
IT'S LIKE A SPONGE, ISN'T IT?
HERE'S AN ORCHID.
AND HERE'S AN ORCHID IN-FLOWER.
LOOK.
LOOK HERE.

Prem says YES.

Monty says THERE WE ARE.
I FOUND IT.

Prem says YOU DID.
(LAUGHING)
YOU BEAT ME TO IT.

Monty says WHICH ORCHID IS THAT?

Prem says THIS IS THE DINGY STARRED
ORCHID.
OFTEN THEY WILL HAVE KIND OF A
GREENISH TINT WITH SORT OF A
PURPLISH TINT TO IT AS WELL.

Monty says YEAH.

Prem says I'VE NEVER ACTUALLY
ENCOUNTERED ONE WITH THAT COLOR
SCHEME.
I'VE ALWAYS ENCOUNTERED THEM
LOOKING LIKE THIS.
A BEAUTIFUL CREAMSICLE ORANGE
WITH GREEN LIPS.

Monty says DOES IT RELY UPON THE
DAMPNESS OF THE SWAMP?
DOES IT NEED THAT HUMIDITY?

Prem says YES, THE WATER IN THE SWAMP
ACTS AS A TEMPERATURE REGULATOR.

Monty says RIGHT.
WHAT FASCINATES ME IS YOU
CLEARLY ARE PREPARED TO FIGHT
THROUGH THE UNDERGROWTH, TO WADE
UP TO YOUR WAIST IN BRACKISH
WATER.

Prem says YES.

Monty says FIND THE LITTLE FLOWER LIKE
THAT AND REGARD IT AS A COMPLETE
TRIUMPH WORTH EVERY PENNY AND
EVERY OUNCE OF EFFORT.

Prem says YES, ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE
EFFORT.
I'M REALLY HAPPY JUST BEING
IN AN ENVIRONMENT LIKE THIS.
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.
IT IS MORE TO THE WAY IT USED TO
BE.

(music plays)

Monty says THAT LONG TREK THROUGH
THE DENSE UNDERGROWTH AND
SPONGY SWAMP WAS, AS PREM SAID,
A PRIVILEGED GLIMPSE INTO THE
WAY FLORIDA USED TO BE.
I FIND PLANT HUNTERS
FASCINATING.
SO, WHILST I WAS IN MIAMI, I
DECIDED TO VISIT THE GARDEN OF
A BOTANIST AND PLANT HUNTER WHO
CHANGED THE FACE OF AMERICAN
FOOD PRODUCTION.
THE KAMPONG WAS THE PRIVATE
HOME OF PLANT COLLECTOR CALLED
DAVID FAIRCHILD AND HE WAS BORN
IN 1869.
HE WAS SENT OUT TO COLLECT AS
MANY DIFFERENT PLANTS AS
POSSIBLE THAT COULD PROVIDE FOOD
FOR THE GROWING POPULATION OF
AMERICA.
THE WORD "KAMPONG" IS
INDONESIAN AND MEANS AN
ENCLOSED COMPOUND.
FAIRCHILD SPENT MANY YEARS
PLANT HUNTING IN INDONESIA.
IN 1916, HE BUILT A WINTER HOME
HERE IN MIAMI WITH THE HELP OF
HIS FATHER IN LAW, WHO HAPPENED
TO BE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL,
THE INVENTOR OF THE TELEPHONE.
ALONG WITH A FEW SITES IN
HAWAII, THE KAMPONG IS NOW A
NATIONAL TROPICAL BOTANIC
GARDEN.
CRAIG MORRELL, IS THE DIRECTOR.
CRAIG, I'M INTERESTED IN THE
LEGACY OF THIS GARDEN, IN
PARTICULAR BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALL
THESE PLANTS, BUT THEY'RE NOT
JUST FOR DISPLAY, ARE THEY?

Craig is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a beard. He wears glasses, beige trousers, a blue polo shirt and a khaki hat.
He says NO, NOT AT ALL.
THE PLANTS HERE ARE LITERALLY
THE LIVING LEGACY OF DAVID
FAIRCHILD, WHO BROUGHT IN SOME
OF THE VERY BEST VARIETIES OF
THE FOOD PLANTS AND VEGETABLES
AND GRAINS THAT WE EAT TODAY.
SOYBEANS, NECTARINES, FIGS,
PEACHES, PEARS, DATES, SUGAR
CANE AND SO ON.
MANY OF THOSE PLANTS ARE ALIVE
ON THIS GARDEN AT SOME OF THE
ORIGINAL MANGOES AND AVOCADOS
ARE CERTAINLY HERE.

Monty says WHILE FAIRCHILD DIDN'T
DISCOVER ANY ORIGINAL SPECIES,
THE SHEER VOLUME OF DIFFERENT
VARIETIES THAT HE FOUND IS
STAGGERING.

Craig says HIS FASCINATION WITH FINDING
BETTER VARIETIES OF MANGOES AND
AVOCADOS YIELDED THE CURRENT
CROP OF ABOUT 600 DIFFERENT
VARIETIES OF MANGOES IN THIS
COUNTY, ALMOST 800 IN THE STATE
OF FLORIDA, AND IN AVOCADOS,
THERE'S OVER 100 VARIETIES IN
FLORIDA.

Monty says WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY
ASTONISHING.

Craig says HIS SPECIFIC JOB WAS TO FIND
FOOD TO FEED AMERICA.
HIS INFLUENCE WAS COUNTRY WIDE.

Monty says AND HAD GREAT
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS AS THE
BETTER PERFORMING VARIETIES OF
FRUIT THAT FAIRCHILD BROUGHT
HOME ADDED AROUND 100 BILLION DOLLARS
TO THE AMERICAN ECONOMY EACH
YEAR, BUT THE FUTURE OF THE
KAMPONG IS NOW THREATENED BY
CHANGES IN THE ENVIRONMENT.
HOW IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING
THE GARDEN HERE?

Craig says EVEN OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS
THAT I'VE BEEN IN FLORIDA, THE
WINTERS ARE GETTING WARMER.
MANY OF THE FRUITS THAT WERE
ORIGINALLY HERE, LYCHEE AND
LONGAN AND MANGOES THAT REQUIRE
THOSE COOL WINTERS NO LONGER
FRUIT AS WELL HERE.

Monty says BEFORE I GO, CRAIG
WANTS TO SHOW ME ONE MORE
RATHER SPECIAL PLANT, WHICH IS
ONE DISCOVERED BY MY OWN
PLANT-HUNTING ANCESTOR, GEORGE
DON.

Craig says NOW OUR LEGENDARY MADAGASCAN
PLANT IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

Monty says SO, THIS IS GEORGE DON'S
CONTRIBUTION TO THE GARDEN?

Craig says THIS IS GEORGE DON'S
CONTRIBUTION.
MADAGASCAR PERIWINKLE OR
PRIMROSE.

Monty says THIS PLANT, WHICH IS MODEST,
IS ACTUALLY ATTRACTING QUITE A
LOT OF INTEREST BECAUSE THEY'RE
FINDING ALL KINDS OF ANTI-CANCER
ALKALOIDS.

Craig says ABSOLUTELY, AND THIS WAS A
REAL SURPRISE BECAUSE THE PLANT
HAS BEEN GROWING IN MANY
TROPICAL AREAS AND DRY SPOTS
FOR MILLENNIA.
THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT CAME OUT
THAT IT WAS VERY ECONOMICALLY
INTERESTING BECAUSE OF ITS
PHARMACEUTICAL PROPERTIES.

Monty says GOOD OLD GEORGE DON.
VERY GOOD.

(music plays)

Monty says I'M SURE THAT GEORGE DON, WHO
DIED POOR AND LARGELY
FORGOTTEN, WILL BE PLEASED THAT
HIS MADAGASCAN PERIWINKLE WAS
NOW PROVING INTERESTING.
I CAN NOW GO NO FURTHER SOUTH.
OUT THERE ARE THE BAHAMAS.
SO, IT'S TIME TO GO WEST TO A
NEW TIME ZONE.
NEW LANDSCAPE, NEW GARDENS.
I'M GOING TO NEW ORLEANS.

The animated map shows the location of New Orleans.

Monty says NEW ORLEANS IS THE BIGGEST CITY
IN THE CENTRAL SOUTHERN STATE
OF LOUISIANA WITH A POPULATION
AROUND 1.3 MILLION, AND A PROUD
REPUTATION FOR KNOWING HOW TO
PARTY.
I'M STARTING MY VISIT HERE IN
ARMSTRONG PARK, A PLACE
SYNONYMOUS WITH THE CITY'S MOST
FAMOUS EXPORT, BECAUSE IT WAS
HERE UNDER THESE TALL TREES AND
A PART OF THE PARK KNOWN AS
CONGO SQUARE THAT JAZZ WAS
BORN.
DENISE GRAVES IS THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF THE CONGO SQUARE
PRESERVATION SOCIETY.

Denise is in her late forties, with long braided graying hair and wears a colourful printed skirt, a black top, and a choker necklace.

She says IN NEW ORLEANS ENSLAVED
AFRICANS WERE BAPTIZED CATHOLIC
AND BEING BAPTIZED CATHOLIC
MEANT THAT YOU DIDN'T WORK ON
SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS, AND THERE
WERE A NUMBER OF PLANTATION
OWNERS WHO FACILITATED THOSE
ENSLAVED AFRICANS GATHERING,
AND IN GATHERING THAT'S WHERE
ENSLAVED AFRICANS DID THEIR
DRUMMING.
OUT OF THAT A SYNTHESIS OF MUSIC
OCCURRED.

Monty says ENSLAVED AFRICANS CAME
FROM AROUND TWENTY DIFFERENT
COUNTRIES, AND PLAYING THEIR
SIGNATURE RHYTHMS WAS THE BEST
WAY FOR THEM TO IDENTIFY THEIR
KINSMAN.

Denise says IMAGINE BEING ON A PLANTATION
ALL WEEK LONG AND EVERYBODY'S
TELLING YOU WHEN TO GET UP, WHEN
TO GO TO SLEEP, WHAT TO EAT, HOW
TO WORK, AND ALL OF THOSE
THINGS, BUT YOU COME HERE IN
CONGO SQUARE YOU CAN PLAY
WHATEVER YOU NEED TO PLAY.
JAZZ IS A MUSIC OF RESISTANCE.

Monty says IT WAS THE COMBINATION
OF THESE EARLY DRUMMING SOUNDS
THAT LATER DEVELOPED INTO JAZZ
AND BLUES, AND TODAY, THE
SQUARE IS STILL A PLACE WHERE
PEOPLE GATHER TO PLAY AND
LISTEN TO DRUMS.

Denise says THESE ARE HALLOWED GROUNDS.
IT IS A MAGICAL PLACE.

(music plays)

Monty says NEW ORLEANS IS A CITY MADE
UP OF VERY DIFFERENT
NEIGHBORHOODS, EACH WITH THEIR
OWN DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER.
BEFORE I CAME HERE TO NEW
ORLEANS, SOMEONE SAID TO ME,
"I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU'RE GOING,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIND ANY
GARDENS THAT ARE INTERESTING."
WELL, THEY COULDN'T BE MORE
WRONG.
THERE ARE MASSES, AND
PARTICULARLY HERE IN THE GARDEN
DISTRICT, THERE ARE STREET AFTER
STREET WITH WONDERFULLY QUIRKY
HOUSES, MAGNIFICENT TREES, AND
REALLY GOOD FRONT GARDENS.
AND THERE IS ONE PLANT IN
THIS DISTRICT THAT REALLY SETS
THE TONE.
STAR JASMINE, TRACHELOSPERMUM
JASMINOIDES, IS EVERYWHERE.
IT RUNS ALONG RAILINGS, IT MAKES
FLOWERING HEDGES, IT'S CLIMBING
UP THE TELEGRAPH POLES, AND AS
WELL AS LOOKING INCREDIBLE,
THE STREETS ARE FILLED WITH ITS
GLORIOUS FRAGRANCE.
A LITTLE FURTHER UP THE RIVER
LIES NEW ORLEANS' OLDEST AND
PERHAPS MOST FAMOUS
NEIGHBORHOOD.
THE FRENCH QUARTER IS
CHARACTERIZED BY ITS COLONIAL
ARCHITECTURE, DATING FROM THE
TIME WHEN THE STATE OF
LOUISIANA WAS FRENCH TERRITORY.
I'M ON MY WAY TO MEET CELIA
COLLINS, WHO'S LIVE WITH HER
HUSBAND, JEFF, IN ONE OF THESE
MAGNIFICENT HOUSES IN THE
QUARTER FOR OVER 20 YEARS.
LIKE MANY IN THE AREA THEIR
GARDEN IS A COURTYARD HIDDEN
FROM THE STREET.
HOW OLD IS THE HOUSE?

Celia is in her forties, with long straight blond hair in a loose bun and wears a floral dress.

She says THE HOUSE IS 1850.
IT WAS BUILT AND THIS LOVELY
GARDEN.
WE'RE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE
WHAT'S CALLED A KEY LOT.
IT'S DEEP, AND SO WE HAVE A
SECOND COURTYARD IN THE BACK.
THIS GARDEN IS ALL TROPICAL
GREEN, AND THIS FERN IS MY
PRIDE AND JOY.
IT WAS A LITTLE TERRACOTTA POT...

Monty says YEAH.

Celia says --WITH A SMALL FERN IN IT,
AND I LEFT IT, AND THIS IS WHAT
WE HAVE.

Monty says GOSH, LOOK AT THESE PALMS.

Celia says AND THESE PALMS, WHEN WE
MOVED HERE, THEY WERE MY HEIGHT.
IF SOMETHING STARTS TO TAKE OFF,
I GO WITH IT.

Monty says YEAH, WHAT ALL IT SAYS, OF
COURSE, IS THAT THIS IS A DAMP
PLACE.

Celia says MM-HM.

Monty says YOU KNOW, IT'S HOT.

Celia says IT'S HOT.

Monty says BUT IT'S DAMP.

Celia says BUT IT'S DAMP, BUT IT'S NOT
DAMP ENOUGH.
YOU HAVE TO WATER THIS EVERY
DAY.

Monty says REALLY?
THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY OF A NEW
ORLEANS SUMMER MAY BE GOOD FOR
SOME PLANTS, BUT IT'S NOT SO
GOOD FOR HUMANS.

Celia says IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, YOU
WON'T BE OUT BECAUSE IT'S JUST
TOO HOT.
WE HAVE A VERY LIMITED TIME AND
SO WE CHERISH IT.

Monty says YES.

Celia says BECAUSE WHEN IT'S BEAUTIFUL,
IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.
WHEN I WAS DOING GARDENING
YESTERDAY, HOW MY HEART WOULD
LEAP WHEN I-- YOU KNOW, FERNS
WHEN THEY'RE FURLED.

Monty says YEAH.

Celia says BEFORE THEY COME UN...
OH, THEY'RE SO BEAUTIFUL.
JEFF, MY HUSBAND, HE WOULD NEVER
EVER FEEL THAT WAY.
I THINK IT'S GENETIC.
I DO.
(CHUCKLING)
CLEARLY YOU MUST HAVE THE GENE.

Monty says WELL, I GET HUGE PLEASURE
FROM IT THAT'S FOR SURE.

Celia says YES.

Monty says IN FACT, THERE'S ALMOST
NOTHING IN THIS WORLD THAT MAKES
ME HAPPIER.

Celia says AND YOU HAVE A GARDEN.

Monty says I HAVE A GARDEN.

Celia says AH, GOOD.
WELL, THIS IS A WONDERFUL
GARDEN.
IT'S A BIT OF HEAVEN.
IT REALLY IS.

(music plays)

Monty says HAVING SEEN AN INNER CITY
GARDEN, I'M NOW HEADING NORTH
ABOUT FIVE MILES FROM DOWNTOWN
NEW ORLEANS TO VISIT A GARDEN
THAT WAS MADE BEFORE THE SECOND
WORLD WAR ON A MUCH GRANDER
SCALE.
LONGVIEW HOUSE IS MY LAST
GARDEN HERE IN NEW ORLEANS, BUT
THE MOST SPECTACULAR AND IN ITS
OWN WAY, THE MOST
CONVENTIONALLY GRAND.
LONGVIEW BELONGED TO EDGAR AND
EDITH STERN, BOTH WEALTHY IN
THEIR OWN RIGHT.
THEY WERE PROMINENT
PHILANTHROPISTS, SETTING UP A
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT,
UNIVERSITY, AND A HOSPITAL TO
SERVE THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN
COMMUNITY OF NEW ORLEANS.
THEY INITIALLY BUILT THEIR
FIRST HOUSE AT LONGVIEW IN 1921
ON A MODEST PLOT NEXT TO THE
LOCAL GOLF COURSE.
THE STERNS HAD LIVED HERE FOR
NINE YEARS, WHEN IN 1936 THEY
PAID A TRIP TO EUROPE AND CAME
BACK FIRED TO CREATE THEIR OWN
GRAND GARDEN, BASED ON ALL THE
ONES THEY'D SEEN.
SO, THEY BOUGHT MORE LAND AND
HIRED ELLEN BIDDLE SHIPMAN,
WHO AS WELL AS BEING A FINE
GARDEN DESIGNER, WAS A
PIONEERING FEMINIST IN WHAT
WAS THEN VERY MUCH A MALE
DOMINATED GARDENING WORLD.
WORKING WITH MRS. STONE, ELLEN
BIDDLE LAID OUT AN EXTENSIVE
AND DRAMATIC SERIES OF GARDENS.
HOWEVER, THERE WAS ONE MAJOR
HITCH.
HER PROPOSALS WERE REALLY
OVERWHELMING THE EXISTING HOUSE.
SO, IN A VERY AMERICAN FASHION,
THEY KNOCKED DOWN THE OLD HOUSE
AND BUILD A NEW ONE, A NEW SITE
WITH A DIFFERENT FACADE AND ALL
THE FOUR FACES THAT WOULD RELATE
DIRECTLY TO THE GARDEN.
THE HOUSE NOW LOOKED OUT ONTO
14 SEPARATE GARDENS, SPREAD
ACROSS EIGHT INTENSIVELY
PLANTED ACRES.
AMONG THE DIFFERENT GARDEN
ROOMS WERE A WALLED GARDEN,
A SPANISH COURT, AND A WILD
GARDEN.
THE INITIAL PLANTING OF THE
GARDEN WAS BASED UPON EUROPEAN
GARDENS AND IN PARTICULARLY ON
SPAIN, BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THAT
THAT WOULD APPROXIMATE TO THE
CLIMATE HERE, BUT IN FACT, THEY
WERE WRONG.
IT'S MUCH WETTER HERE.
YOU HAVE THIS WET, HUMID HEAT
AND A LOT OF PLANTS DIDN'T
THRIVE.
SO, GRADUALLY THEY INTRODUCED
THOSE THAT WERE MORE COMFORTABLE
AND THEN THEY MADE THIS WILD
GARDEN WITH A FABULOUS DOVECOTE
IN THE BACKGROUND, WHICH IS
ACTUALLY A FOLLY.
IT'S SOMEWHERE TO SIT.
AND UNDERNEATH THE SHADE OF THE
ENORMOUS MAGNOLIAS YOU HAVE
PLANTS RUNNING FREE, AND IF
THEY'RE NOT NATIVES THEN THEY
CERTAINLY HAVE MADE THEMSELVES
A HOME.
MRS. STERN WAS INTERESTED IN
THE LOCAL LOUISIANA WILDFLOWERS
AND WANTED TO CHAMPION THEM IN
WHAT WAS OTHERWISE A GARDEN
DOMINATED BY EUROPEAN
INFLUENCES.
SO, PLANTS LIKE SALVIAS WHICH
ARE TENDER AND TRICKY IN MY OWN
GARDEN BACK HOME ROMP FREELY.
AND THE LOVELY LOCAL HYDRANGEA
QUIRKIFOLIA WITH ITS WHITE
FLOWERS IS AT ITS BEST.
THE GARDENS TODAY ARE
MAINTAINED TO LOOK AS THOUGH
THEY WERE IN THE 1960S WHEN
THEY WERE FIRST OPEN TO THE
PUBLIC, BUT THAT HASN'T ALWAYS
BEEN AN EASY TASK AS THEY
SUFFERED CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE AT
THE HANDS OF NEW ORLEANS WORST
EVER STORM.
AMY GRAHAM, DIRECTOR OF
HORTICULTURE, TOLD ME ALL ABOUT
IT.
AMY, THE GARDEN LOOKS VERY
SETTLED, AND ESTABLISHED, AND
UNTROUBLED.

Amy is in her forties, with above the shoulders straight blond hair and a side swept bangs. She wears chocolate brown trousers, a black top and a pendant necklace.

She says MM-HM, MM-HM.

Monty says BUT IT HAS KNOWN BIG
TROUBLES IN YOUR TIME, HASN'T
IT?

Amy says THAT'S TRUE.
WE WENT THROUGH HURRICANE
KATRINA IN 2005 HERE.

Monty says TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED.

Amy says WE ARE SITUATED VERY CLOSE TO
THE 7TH STREET CANAL, WHICH
RUPTURED.
SO, WE HAD ABOUT TWO FEET OF
WATER FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS ALL
THROUGH THE PROPERTY.

Monty says AND THE STORM THAT WENT WITH
IT, DID THAT DO DAMAGE?

Amy says YES, A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF
WIND DAMAGED ABOUT 125 MILES
PER HOUR WINDS HERE.
WE LOST ABOUT 200 LARGE AND
SMALL TREES.

Monty says TERRIBLE.
WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?

Amy says WELL, I HAVE A PICTURE HERE
OF THESE TREES THAT WE'RE
LOOKING AT HERE.
THESE ARE LIVE OAK TREES.
AND THEY WERE REALLY ALMOST
COMPLETELY DEFOLIATED.

Monty says WE ARE STANDING PRETTY MUCH
IT LOOKS IN THE SAME POSITION
AND DID THEY RE-FLOIATE THE NEXT
YEAR?

Amy says NOT REALLY.
IT TOOK SEVERAL YEARS.

Monty says TELL ME ABOUT THE CLEARING UP
OPERATION.
HOW MANY OF YOU WERE INVOLVED?

Amy says WELL, THE REST OF THE
GARDEN'S STAFF DID NOT RETURN TO
LIVE IN NEW ORLEANS AT THAT
TIME.
ABOUT 85 percent OF THE HOUSING STOCK
IN NEW ORLEANS WAS UNLIVABLE.
SO, PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE A PLACE
TO STAY.
SO, THEY DIDN'T COME BACK TO
THEIR JOBS IN MANY
CIRCUMSTANCES.
THERE ARE PEOPLE ON STAFF THAT
WE NEVER EVEN SAW AGAIN.
WE HAD FIVE FULL-TIME GARDENERS
AND I WAS THE ONLY ONE TO RETURN
TO WORK HERE AT THE TIME.
SO, I WORKED WITH A LOT OF
VOLUNTEERS, ABOUT 600 VOLUNTEERS
IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS AFTER THE
STORM.

Monty says WOW, AND HOW LONG DID IT
TAKE TO GET TO WHERE WE ARE NOW?

Amy says ABOUT SEVEN YEARS
POST-KATRINA.
WE WERE GAINING CONFIDENCE IN
THE SITE AGAIN.

(music plays)

Monty says ALL THE 42 LIVE OAKS
AT LONGVIEW GROUNDS, INCLUDING
THESE MAGNIFICENT SPECIMENS IN
THE AVENUE THAT LINES THE
ENTRANCE DRIVEWAY, TOOK A
TERRIBLE BATTERING FROM
KATRINA, BUT AMAZINGLY, EVERY
ONE OF THEM SURVIVED.
THIS IS THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI
BEING CARRIED ON A FIERCE
CURRENT DOWN TO THE SEA,
AND IT BRINGS ME TO THE END OF
THIS PART OF MY JOURNEY
MY VISIT TO THE DEEP SOUTH HAS
BEEN FASCINATING, AND THROUGH
ITS GARDENS, I'VE EXPERIENCED
ITS PASSIONATE SENSE OF
IDENTITY AND HISTORY.
BUT IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON AND
VISIT A VERY DIFFERENT PART OF
THIS SIMPLY VAST COUNTRY.
SO, I'M HEADING TO THE DESERTS,
MOUNTAINS, SHORES, AND FORESTS
OF THE WEST COAST.
I EXPLORE THE MIND-BLOWING
CACTI OF ARIZONA, AND I'M
SHOWN SOME OF THE BEST VIEWS
IN HOLLYWOOD.

Monty stands in a glass house in the middle of the jungle.

A man with long white hair says I SET OUT TO BUY A
HOUSE TO MAKE MY AFGHAN HOUND
HAPPY.

Monty says BEFORE FULFILLING A
LIFELONG AMBITION TO SEE THE
TALLEST TREES WORLD.
THIS HAS EXCEEDED ALL MY
EXPECTATIONS.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Written and presented by Monty Don.

Series producer, Daisy Newton Dunn.

Series Editor, Alexandra Henderson.

Logo: AHA Productions for BBC.

Copyright 2019, AHA Productions. All 3 Media International.

Watch: Monty Don's American Gardens - Episode 2