James Wong (ethnobotanist)

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James Wong
Born James Wong
(1981-05-26) 26 May 1981 (age 34)
Occupation Ethnobotanist, television presenter, garden designer

James Wong (born 26 May 1981) is an ethnobotanist, television presenter and garden designer in the United Kingdom,[1] best known for presenting the award-winning television series Grow Your Own Drugs, being a panellist on the long-running Radio 4 series Gardeners' Question Time and reporting on the popular rural affairs BBC series Countryfile.

Early life[edit]

Born in London to a Malaysian Chinese father and a British mother, Wong was brought up in Singapore and Malaysia. Upon being awarded an academic scholarship, he returned to the UK in 1999 to study at the University of Bath. He then trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the University of Kent, gaining a Master of Science degree in Ethnobotany, graduating with distinction.

Career[edit]

At the age of 27, Wong became the presenter of his own television series Grow Your Own Drugs. The award-winning BBC Two series demonstrates a number of natural remedies sourced from plants,[2] and soon became the highest-rated gardening series on UK television. At the time of writing the show has run to two seasons, as well as a one-off Christmas special, Grow Your Own Christmas. Wong's first two books that tied-in with each series of the television show became international best-sellers, with his third title "Homegrown Revolution" becoming the fastest selling gardening book in UK history.[3]

Wong is also a regular reporter on the hit BBC One rural affairs series Countryfile since its reformatting in April 2009 as well being a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4's "Gardeners' Question Time" & presenter of the forthcoming "Channel News Asia" series, 'Expensive Eats'.

In his capacity as a garden designer, he has become a four-time Royal Horticultural Society RHS medal winner[4] for gardens he co-designed through the design studio he co-founded, Amphibian Designs, at the Chelsea Flower Show and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. In his first garden the 2004 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, he became the youngest-ever medal-winning designer at the event, and is currently the youngest 5-time RHS medal winner.[5]

Wong has designed an Ethnobotanical Garden for the University of Kent, where he is a guest lecturer.[6]

His research has taken him to highland Ecuador, as well as to China and Java.

In 2013 and 2014 he presented several episodes of Great British Garden Revival, winning 'Best Television Programme of the Year' at the 2014 Garden Media Awards.

Personal life[edit]

Wong lives in Twickenham, South West London. He speaks fluent Spanish, English and Mandarin Chinese.

His mother is from Newport, Wales and Wong retains a slight South Welsh accent.[7]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Episodes
2008 Fossil Detectives Co-presenter All
Gardeners' World Guest presenter All
2009 Grow Your Own Drugs Series 1 Presenter All
Grow Your Own Drugs for Christmas Presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
2010 Grow Your Own Drugs Series 2 Presenter All
James Wong and the Malaysian Garden Presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
2011 The Fabulous Mrs Beeton Co-Presenter All
Countryfile Co-Presenter All
2012 Our Food Co-presenter All
The People's Rainforest Co-Presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
2013 Expensive Eats Co-presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
2014 Great British Garden Revival Co-presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
2015 Great British Garden Revival Co-presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
BBC Chelsea Flower Show Coverage Co-Anchor Various

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wong, James (2010). Grow Your Own Drugs – A Year with James Wong. Harper Collins. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Survey Reveals Three Quarters of Britons Eat Sprouts - LONDON, December 15 /PR Newswire UK/". LONDON: Prnewswire.co.uk. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Kavanagh, Marianne (27 February 2009). "Grow your own drugs with James Wong". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "'The Burgbad Sanctuary' at The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2008". Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "Chelsea Flower show winners announced". Country Life. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Kavanagh, Marianne (27 February 2009). "Grow your own drugs with James Wong". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 March 2009. 
  7. ^ January 8, 2010 (8 January 2010). "Grow Your Own Drugs". Lynne Allbutt. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 

External links[edit]