Public lecture: historical tales of “herbaceous murder”

Freelance garden historian Mr Russell Bowes will be sharing tales of how people have mysteriously died ‘in the garden’ in a free public lecture at the University on Wednesday 10 October.

Down in the garden, something deadly lurks. Several people who stood between the gardener and a large inheritance have died horribly. Could it be that they have all been poisoned with the plants and flowers that grow there?

Many plants have been used throughout history as part of the murderer’s stock-in-trade, both in fiction and real life, so should you be on your guard against “herbaceous murder”? Gardener Russell Bowes welcomes you in for what might be your very last garden tour as he investigates murder most floral.

Mr Russell Bowes is a freelance garden historian and was awarded the University of London Diploma in Garden History in 2000.

He has previously lectured on subjects as diverse as: The life and works of “Capability” Brown and Sir Joseph Paxton, the history of the tulip, 18th and 19th century follies, and the symbolism of plants and flowers in fine art.

A regular lecturer for the National Trust, he has also spoken at the Imperial War Museum, Blenheim Palace, the Eden Project and the National Portrait Gallery as well as several times on previous Bath GULP lecture series.

Mr Bowes is a keen practical gardener with an interest in historic plants, and has studied extensively at the Museum of Gardening in London.

The lecture is part of the University’s General University Lecture Programme (GULP). Others in the series include:

17 October - Contemporary Art in Sacred Spaces - Art History and Cultural Theory lecturer Dr Jonathan Koestlé-Cate examines how modern art continues to play a significant role in the life of the church.

24 OctoberHow to build an Olympic Stadium – Structural engineering expert, Dr Paul Shepherd shares the secrets behind the building of the Olympic Park and explores the ways that mathematics was used in the construction and operation of this spectacular event.

31 October - Archaeology, Common Rights and the Origins of Britishness - Dr Susan Oosthuizen explores the archaeological evidence for the management of prehistoric pasture, to ask whether it is possible that common rights were already traditional by the time the Anglo-Saxons arrived.

7 November - No job for a woman – Industrial chemist Dr Barry Maule provides an insight into women’s contributions to the manufacture of explosives and shell filling in the First World War.

14 November - A sustainable future for wildlife and people - Head of Learning at Bristol Zoo Simon Garrett looks at the challenges facing a sustainable future.

The lecture is taking place in Lecture Theatre 8 West 1.1 and starts at 5.15pm. Free parking is available in the West Car Park after 5pm.

For more information about the University’s Autumn 2012 GULP programme, please email gulp@bath.ac.uk or call 01225 386587.

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