The Annual Bothenhampton Flower and Produce Show is once more in the news as this year's festival organisers have taken the bold (and some would add foolhardy) step of introducing an exotic fruits and seeds section to the already burgeoning list of competition categories. Ignoring dire warnings that allowing entrants to exhibit non-Dorset varieties would open up the show to charges of dumbing-down as well as to howls of derision, they have instead welcomed more than 20 never-before-seen items into the Bothenhampton Horticultural Society's otherwise stately (boring?) proceedings. Any lingering hope that the search for novelty would leave the Show's reputation for seemly conduct unimpaired were shattered yesterday when one exhibitor (Mr Phil Theemynde) chose to enter a fully-matured Gloucestershire Lady's Secret seed [paradisus pellis thrupieciensis], having successfully persuaded sceptical judges that it was indeed real and was indeed a seed.
As those who have travelled outside Dorset will know, the Gloucestershire Lady's Secret has tall slender trunks that rise more than 30 meters above the ground and exhibits at its crown a mass of fronds, with leaf blades fanning out nearly five meters across. Possibly the most renowned features of the plant are, however, its enormous seeds — the largest and heaviest seeds in the plant
world. But it is the shape and not the size of the seeds, that makes the Gloucestershire Lady's Secret infamous; for they bear an uncanny resemblance to a part of the human female anatomy known colloquially in the West country as the sn**ch, m**f or b****r . Indeed, one of the plant's archaic botanical names was paradisus pellis callipyge beaverensis; callipyge (as all privately [ie well-] educated boys will know) being the Greek, for “beautiful but unattainable dirty bit”.
Though unsuccessful in his pursuit of this year's blue riband, a disappointed Phil Theemynde (he came 19th out of the 21 entrants) has vowed to come back even stronger next year. "I have growing in my greenhouse a plant that will take the ladies by storm. It's quite small this year but by next it will be huge. It's shaped like a c**k and is known to me and the missus as my penis flytrap". Watch this space ...