James Wong (ethnobotanist)

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James Wong
Born James Wong
(1981-05-26) 26 May 1981 (age 33)
Occupation Ethnobotanist, television presenter, garden designer

James Wong (born May 26, 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 hit rural affairs series BBC 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.


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, he presented two episodes of Great British Garden Revival.

Personal life[edit]

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


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 Presenter All
Countryfile Co-presenter Various
Great British Garden Revival Co-presenter Various


  • Wong, Jame (2009). Grow Your Own Drugs. Harper Collins. 
  • Wong, James (2010). Grow Your Own Drugs – A Year with James Wong. Harper Collins. 
  • Wong, James (2012). James Wong's Homegrown Revolution. Weidenfeld & Nicholson. 
  • Wong, James (2015). Grow For Flavour. Octopus Publishing Group. 


External links[edit]