How a Brit became one of Sweden's top TV gardeners

5:55 min

Radio Sweden meets TV gardener John Taylor as he races to get the Malmö Garden Show ready for its June 2 opening.

"Welcome to the chaos," jokes John Taylor at the start of six days of frantic preparations for next weekend's Malmö Garden Show.

“At Chelsea Garden show they’re doing this for three or four weeks.”

The first show garden exhibitors are arriving and squabbling over their plots, and Taylor stands in the bright sunlight directing a steady stream of vans and trucks.  

Few Englishmen have seen their careers bloom in Sweden like John Taylor. The head gardener at Malmö’s Slottsträdgården, or Castle Gardens, is one of the stars of Swedish Television’s popular Trädgårdsonsdag gardening show.   

“It’s like the Italian opera singer or the French cook: Some countries have a thing in their natural stereotype that is good, and we are good gardeners,” he says.

The accent he has in his otherwise perfect Swedish also helps, he admits.

“I do speak this ‘Brit-Skånska’, British Scanian, and apparently, and I’m well aware of this,  it’s quite charming,” he says, speaking of his take on the accent spoken in the far south of Sweden.  

Taylor came to Sweden with a girlfriend he met on a Kibbutz in Israel, arriving in 1992.

The relationship didn’t last, but Taylor quickly found his feet, working as a cleaner and in a refugee centre before getting a place at a gardening college.

A natural linguist, he quickly learnt Swedish, something he recommends to other new arrivals.

 “Learn Swedish as quickly as possible, because Swedish is a very easy language to learn.  It’s not rocket science for anyone who speaks English,” he says.

“Work hard and be nice to people. It’s not difficult and Sweden’s a very welcoming, generous country.”