With just short of 100 in attendance from Tattenhall and elsewhere, no-one could have been anything less than impressed by the persuasive and communicative powers of Dr Mark Spencer, our guest speaker at last night's joint Tattenhall Gardening Society (TGS) and Tattenhall Wildlife Group (TWiG) event held in the Barbour Institute.
His lecture entitled 'Plant Hunting and Plant Hunters in the 17th and 18th Centuries' took us on a journey of discovery in which he described specimens such as the 'Iris Susiana', as 'excessively moody' whilst his particular hero, Carl Linnaeus, was described as the Godfather of Taxonomy and an absolute beast'! He described how the historical treasures of British herbarium collections and archives continue to inform contemporary thinking and scientific study.
By his own admission, the value of biodiversity and taxonomy as a topic is overwhelming, but we were steered with seamless transition through 'Voyages to Jamaica'; Dutch influences in documenting species from South Africa via the business of the Dutch East India Company and the graphic, ritual torture and execution of John Lawson ('Voyages to Carolina').
A sensational evening – lectures at The Barbour don't get any better than this!