Michael Perry, AKA Mr Plant Geek, is so fascinated by the world’s most weird and wonderful plants that they form the subject of his first book, Hortus Curious, published on Thursday. Here, he tries to pick a favourite!
We last featured you around a year ago, what have you been up to since then?
What haven’t I’ve been up to?? Every week is busy at the moment, I’ve been doing some work with Timberland, a few workshops and such, and a very interesting dating project with the joy of plants. Every day is entirely different, but this is exactly the career I always wanted!
When did you first have the idea for Hortus Curious, and what’s the thinking behind it?
To be honest, I always wanted to call it the weird and wacky plant show, but when approached by a large publisher, we worked together to find the very best title, and Hortus curious seem to sum it up perfectly!
Is it a case of the weirder and wackier the better, in your eyes, when it comes to plants?
Plants are incredibly interesting, and it’s not only about weird plants; day-to-day plants can have very interesting little quirks that many of us don’t realise. So, I find everything very interesting and hopefully have a nice way of bringing that to a larger audience. Indeed, many non-plant lovers have been picking up the book and enjoying it!
Do you have a particular favourite and, if so, which one and why? Do you have any in your garden?
I wouldn’t know where to start. I guess some of the most fascinating would be the dancing plant, which moves itself. Or the burning bush, which can spontaneously catch fire…
Is the book aimed at a younger audience, to get them interested in plants from an early age?
Not at all, I think the whole aim for the book was to be accessible to everyone – absolutely everyone! It straddles the line between hard botany and gentle horticultural indifference, and I’m happy with the result!
Can learning about plants be a lot more fun than people think?
Yes, and even my partner, who has no interest in plants, picked up the book on the first day and read it for three hours, and really learnt something.
Is this your first book and are there more to come?
Yes, it’s the first, but I think it would work very well as a second volume too!
What are your plans for the autumn?
Later in the month I’m doing a northern tour, speaking at some garden centres and RHS Harlow Carr! I’m also going to start contributing more to my Substack, where I tease lots of information about brand-new plants and such!