Bill Bailey – pretty as a pitcher (plant)

6a01156fa075f4970c0162fbe23432970dI met comedian, musician and actor Bill Bailey at the Chelsea Flower Show where he was thrilled to have had a pitcher plant named after him.

He explains, “Borneo Exotics, who are a highly regarded breeder of  Nepenthes, got to hear about the work I do in Sumatra with the Orangutans and for other Indonesian Charities and they named a hybrid cultivar from Sumatra, which is crossed with a Filipino one, Nepenthes ‘Bill Bailey’ in recognition of my work.  It’s a great honour to be revered in plant form especially a carnivorous one and not a dahlia.”

Well known as a regular guest on QI and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Bill adores the outdoors and has presented numerous animal and wildlife programmes including Bill Bailey’s Bird Watching Bonanza . He recalls, “one of the greatest moments was when a woman told me that her 13 yr old son who was addicted to his X Box, asked for a pair of binoculars to watch the birds with after watching one of my programmes.  Kids love to know the names of things, it gives them a sort of power.”

Despite his own knowledge of plants, Bill insists, “My wife Kristin, is the real gardener in our organisation.  I just know the things I like; like the scent of the Clerodendrum which is just intoxicating on a summer evening.”
Their London garden has been turned into a sandy beach.  “It’s low maintenance as I’m away a lot.  We had it landscaped with white sand, tropical plants and a pond with Gunnera and lilies. There’s a Clerodendrum and passion flower on the patio. I work from a studio in the garden so it’s good to have year round interest outside.”

As Bill prepares to start his Dandelion Mind UK Tour, I wondered where the ‘dandelion’ inspiration came from. “It came to me in a dream, literally.” He laughs, “I was in Melbourne and had a fever and really vivid dreams; in one of them, the back of my head disintegrated into dandelion spores, so I scribbled the idea down and I think it fits with the Show.  My thoughts float off, some keep floating and some self seed and germinate.  There’s a regenerative feel about it.”

Looking forward to performing at the CIA Arena in Cardiff on the 10th November, Bill explains his love of Wales, “The hole in my ear is a permanent reminder of Wales, as I had my ear pierced in Cardiff.  But also my late Mother’s relatives came from Saundersfoot and Tenby and we all used to pile over there on holiday when we were kids.  They were happy times, the relatives would speak Welsh and I particularly remember my Mother erupting into Welsh when she was annoyed. I never learnt any Welsh myself as I would be running away from her.”

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