I wait months for a talk, and then two come along at once. Having recently done talks for the woodland charity twice in six days, this evening I was at a Colchester gardening club talking about bulbs, and will be doing the same talk again on Monday. After that there's a hiatus until June, when the woodland charity gets another outing.
Part of the fun of nature talks for audiences, especially the older audience members, is being reminded of scenes from their childhoods. I'd spoken about fritillaries, and one elderly chap came up afterwards to tell me about the patch he found as a boy in Warwickshire, growing wild in a damp corner of farmland. The following year they'd gone, the field drained and improved, the native flowers diminished. His wife joined us, and asked if Crocosmia didn't need to grow in shade, as they had when the couple lived in Africa. I reminded them that the sun was a lot higher and hotter in Africa, so shade there might equal full light here. They agreed that was the case, and said that they felt in the mood for gardening after the talk, which was the general idea.
The garden club meets in the hall of an Orthodox church, and the car park was unexpectedly busy, with a sudden outburst of singing from next door just as I was beginning to speak. I thought vaguely at the time that maybe the Friday after Easter had some significance, but maybe the date of Easter is different. Because there were so many cars somebody had put out signs telling us to park on the grass so I did, then decided I'd better turn around while it was still light to avoid running over any of the sad little shrubs that had been planted in it. Somebody should clear a grass-free patch around them all, or they will take ages to grow, if they don't simply die. A case for co-operation between the garden club and the church.