Monty Don, 70, opened up on how the depression that had blighted his life had also afflicted his father Denis.The Gardeners’ World presenter described his father as being a “frightening figure” and worried at times his dad would take his own life when he struggled through “deep depressive fits”.
You didn’t mess with him
Monty’s father had served in the armed forces and had previously “killed people”, although the garden expert shared that he was not an “aggressive” person by nature.
Monty explained: “He was an army heavyweight boxing champion and a commando and had been through the war.
“He had killed people. He was not in any way aggressive but it was a latent … He was a scary man.
“You didn’t mess with him and he had these deep depressive fits when he wouldn’t talk to anyone, “ he added to The Times.
Monty revealed the tough childhood he experienced while growing up with his army officer father
The Gardeners’ World presenter described his father as being a “frightening figure”
As Monty reached his teenage years he began to fear his father was close to suicide.
“I remember my mother telling me to go take the bolt out of the gun so he couldn’t shoot himself.
“I remember thinking, ‘this is quite heavy’, but doing it. With hindsight I don’t think he would have shot himself.”
On the subject of trauma, Monty also revealed that his twin sister Alison had nearly died following a car accident.
Monty’s father had served in the armed forces and had previously “killed people”
The TV star had been working as a gardener in France at the time when he was told the heartbreaking news.
Monty recalled receiving a telegram that read “Come home. Alison accident”.
He continued: “She was in a car with my brother and the car overturned and there was a hundred weight of cement in the boot which, because it overturned, hit her on the back of her head, broke her neck, blinded her.
“She made what was deemed a miraculous recovery and got the use of one eye back, after endless operations, and one hand, and could walk with a stick and went on to get married and have children.”
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It comes as Monty is still reeling from the loss of his beloved dog Nigel, who died aged 11, back in May this year.
The dog made regular appearances on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World and even lent his name to Monty’s book Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs.
The star shared a photo of a terracotta pot on Instagram with a sentimental engraving.
It read: “Nigel 2008-2019,” along with a small picture of the dog.
Monty captioned the post: “This arrived today from Whichford in memory of the old boy.
“I shall have to plant it appropriately #tennisballtree.”
Meanwhile, his other dog Nellie recently had “near miss” after the golden retriever was rushed to the vets following a freak accident.
Monty shared in harrowing details how his five-year-old dog “speared her throat” after chasing a stick.