A charming March meeting: ‘Flora Domestica’ with Advolly Richmond.

Thanks to Advolly for a very stimulating talk on Monday evening which traced the ups and downs of indoor plants from the Romans through to the present day.

Advolly’s talk was full of interesting facts from the use of ‘nosegays’ in the middle ages, a practical initiative of carrying herbs and other plants to hide unpleasant aromas to the popularity of ferns in Victorian times as they had no conspicuous reproductive parts to offend the ladies!

We were taken on a journey through time and discovered how events such as the Great Fire in 1666, the abolition of Glass Tax, the Industrial Revolution, world travel, World Wars and the development of high-rise flats have all played their part in the rise and fall of bringing plants into our homes and impacted how we display them.

I was especially taken with the use of plant hire contractors in the 1800s to supply plants to those who could afford them. They would supply reliable plants that were easy to move and maintain. Plant and flower hire for assemblies and parties! I think this happens to this day! Also, the development of conservatories and window gardening ‘Hortus fenestralis’ – glass boxes attached to windows!

Advolly is a fabulous speaker. If you’d like to listen to another of her talks, then click on the link below for more details. This is being given through the Garden Museum. She will be talking about the Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman, a Victorian botanist and plantsman – looking at his rather unknown contribution to botany, plant collection and horticulture.

Don’t forget to look up the schedules for the Spring Show. We all need to make the most of plants looking their best for our photographs.

Liz Thomas, on behalf of the WCHS committee