Fiona Stafford

Wayfaring: The Brief Life of Flowers

Hay Festival 2019 , 

The Professor of English at the University of Oxford leads a walk through an old English garden, talking about her book The Brief Life of Flowers. Their beauty has inspired some of the greatest works of art and literature, captivating creative minds from Ovid to O’Keeffe, Wordsworth to Van Gogh, Botticelli to Beatrix Potter. While the poppy is often associated with WWI, it was the elderflower that treated the wounded horses, joining a long line of healing flowers, including lavender and foxgloves. From the personal to the political, flowers play a part in all aspects of life: the right rose, according to the Victorian language of flowers, might mend a broken heart, while sunflowers may just save our planet.

Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. Return to Festival site by 12pm.