Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Horticultural Mystries

Agatha Christie
Climbing Rose "Agatha Christie"
Photo:  Heirloom Roses
Although I might be considered a light weight by some scholary folks, I love a good Agatha Christie mystery.  Miss Jane Marple, Herclule Perot, and others.  I enjoy an adventure with no overt blood and guts.  I like the odd little slueth fooling the more worldly.  I enjoy the descriptions of English life-style in the early 1900s.  Call me sentimental and I love it.

David Sachet as Herclule Perot

Christie has more than a few references to the horticultural world.  Inspector Perot was often pictured in the movies as wearing a very perfect boutonniere and his knowledge of all things included the properties of flowers and herbs.

Joan Hickson
Joan Hickson as Miss Jane Marple
Jane Marple learned much about the people in the village of St. Mary Mead by watching and listening while working in her English gardens.  Her knowledge of poisons apparently came from that garden familiarity.

Agatha Christie was long noted to write from her own experiences, inserting places and things she had witnessed.  She then spun a tale from those observations and many included the herbal/gardening world.

 On 13th April 1917 she qualified as a dispenser thus acquiring her knowledge of poisons.
Christie's summer home "Greenway"

My Flower Garden
Agatha Christie's favorite flower
 was Lily of the Valley

"Agatha Christie's Garden: Murder & Mystery in Devon"  is a DVD documentary/tour of her garden at Greenway.  The thirty acre Georgian retreat includes secluded paths, sumptuous gardens, elegant rooms, and untamed woods.  It tells how Christie's estate and its environs fed her imagination and figured in her works.

Christie's home and gardens 
in Sunningdale called "Styles"
Because the British love all things Christie, a garden called "Potent Plants Garden at Torre Abbey" has been landscaped.  Poisonous plants used by some of Agatha Christie's most notorious villains have come together in a new garden at the Abbey in Torquay, Devon. Christie was born in Torquay and her summer home "Greenway" is located nearby.  The Torrey Abbey Garden notes that, "In a final twist the potent plants are framed by a flowerbed containing horticultural clues pointing to four of Agatha Christie's short stories."
A couple of books with garden or plant themes:  "How Does Your Garden Grow?", "The Mysterious Affair at Styles".  A Christie garden would be a fun theme if you're looking for adventure.  

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