Wednesday, 19 December 2018 Contact us

‘THE FORCE THAT THROUGH THE GREEN FUSE DRIVES THE FLOWER…’ (Dylan Thomas) FRIDAY, OCT 12, 15.35PM

Weird Plants - Dr Chris Thorogood

Well, this is what it says in the festival brochure: “Author, artist and botanist Dr Chris Thorogood shares his passion for the bizarre in the plant world from the well-known Venus fly trap to the lesser-known parasitic devil’s guts…’.
What it doesn’t say is that this guy is…good. DAMN good. A kind of botanical twin (in looks at least) of actor David Duchovny, aka ‘Spooky Mulder’ from TV’s ‘The X-Files’. Except in this case, you can firmly erase the ‘Spooky’ bit. Because Thorogood is one of those people whose entire DNA appears to be wired to please.
His face alone is a billboard that screams “I really, really, REALLY promise you you’re going to love this’. And lo and behold, you do.
Quite why the BBC Natural History Unit haven’t snapped him up yet is a mystery because trust me, this guy is MADE for tv, and like all great communicators his passion is infectious.
I don’t know about you but I’ve never been especially keen on Gardener’s World or the Chelsea Flower Show (mainly because I can’t stand the way they always refer to every plant and bloom by its Latin name instead of just saying ‘daffodil’). But here I was, 10 minutes into his talk, feverishly trying to write down, and spell, the following characters - Rafflesia, Rhizanthes, Mitrastemon, Hydnora and Balanophora, to name but a few. All of them astonishingly menacing (especially to anyone who thinks the most dangerous plant ever the stinging nettle).
This then was a gleefully fascinating foray into the underworld of the undergrowth, with most of the specimens, as if by magic, produced for us to handle, stare in the bowels of, and pass around (and yes, that was the icky bit).

 

 

Blenheim Palace HSBC In partnership with HSBC Desmond and Fiona Heyward Lady Hatch Jill Dunsmore Mary and Cecil Quillen Italian Cultural Institute Owen Mumford Schools programme partner HM Government of Gibraltar Sponsor of festival green room Gibunco Group Hedges Law Lawyers to the festival Seabourn Luxury Cruises Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller European Commission Schools and colleges programme The Oxford Times Regional media partner Bear Ram Elk Digital Strategy and Web Design Eynsham Hall Floris of London Oxford Cultural Collective Macdonald Bear Hotel Festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Lord’s Taverners Festival sports charity partner The Feathers Hotel The King’s Arms The Sloane Club Literary Review Liaison Financial Services OX magazine K T Bruce Photography Save the Children Bookshop Experience Oxfordshire Wake up to Woodstock

Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature Film & Music 2018 partners & sponsors

Blenheim Palace HSBC In partnership with HSBC Desmond and Fiona Heyward Lady Hatch Jill Dunsmore Mary and Cecil Quillen Italian Cultural Institute Owen Mumford Schools programme partner HM Government of Gibraltar Sponsor of festival green room Gibunco Group Hedges Law Lawyers to the festival Seabourn Luxury Cruises Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller European Commission Schools and colleges programme The Oxford Times Regional media partner Bear Ram Elk Digital Strategy and Web Design Eynsham Hall Floris of London Oxford Cultural Collective Macdonald Bear Hotel Festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Lord’s Taverners Festival sports charity partner The Feathers Hotel The King’s Arms The Sloane Club Literary Review Liaison Financial Services OX magazine K T Bruce Photography Save the Children Bookshop Experience Oxfordshire Wake up to Woodstock