Martin, Dr, Motes, will be speaking to the Venice Orchid Society on Wednesday evening, September 2nd, and the subject is Darwin and Orchids. Of course, just the phrase “Darwin at Venice” has a fine ring to it, as though some scholarly botanist has discovered a forgotten trip the great man took, a Victorian Mediterranean voyage. One sees him gliding along in a gondola, maybe checking for molluscs or whatever there might be clinging to the mossy walls of the palaces lining the canals.
Of course, Darwin and orchids are indelibly bound together and a perfect subject for an orchid society talk. I am very pleased we have a new topic because though Martin is a great speaker, when the subject is orchid culture there are really very few variations on presenting the rules for watering, tackling mites or repotting cattleyas. And as a loyal wife and partner accompanying Martin on many of these trips I’ve heard them all.
I’m lucky, of course, because at these meetings I have a chance to steal five minutes from the potting and the insect warfare, and introduce my popular, comic novel Orchid Territory. This is what every struggling author dreams of: a captive audience interested in their subject. And I also slide in and speak at the very start, when the audience is at its most captive.
I’ll have something new to introduce now - this blog. And for Wednesday evening at Venice, I’ve just discovered a lovely fact about Darwin. In his later years he confessed that what he really liked to read were “popular novels” though "...only if they do not end unhappily - against which a law should be passed."
Orchid Territory passes the test! Darwin - a great man indeed!