Big botanist will be watching you

Visitors to a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit will be scanned with facial recognition software. TV gardener David Domoney aims to monitor reactions to individual plants to see which makes us feel happiest. Domoney said: It’s amazing how much sense of well-being and happiness the sight of a plant can bring. The show starts on May 19………

Domoney stalked the length of the overgrown greenhouse, eyes fixed on the floor as he waited for the sign, he was close now, he could feel it. Sweat gathered on his brow and cascaded down his neck and his back. The heat had long since ceased to bother him though, it felt like days since he had had a drink. He scooped up a large jug of water and poured it over his open mouth. Spilling as much over his body as down his throat. His toes wriggled as the water pooled around his bare feet.

He breathed deeply and approached the large bank of monitors that ran down one wall of the humid glass house. Data streamed across the screens. Figures and numbers, most of it meaningless even to him. Domoney knew what he was looking for though, or rather he would know it when he saw it. He brushed a few errant leaves from one of the screens and made some notes on a clipboard.  A jumble of cables sprouted from the back of the monitors and ran in all directions, some going through the walls, most into the planters that flanked the work station, they crowded round the pots and up the trunks like jungle vines seeking the life giving light of the canopy.

There wasn’t much light getting through this far now though. Various shades of green covered almost every inch of glass. When the sun shone outside a green hue engulfed the workstation and the already stifling temperature shot up to the high 90’s. Not that he minded  the heat, he reminded himself as he bathed in the warm green fog.

He stood in front of a keyboard and entered the numbers that appeared on one screen into another. The leaves crept around the monitors again and he absent mindedly moved them. The creaking was pretty much constant now. For the past few hours the glass panes of his house had been making strange noises as they strained more and more against the ever growing greenery. Domoney hoped they would be able to hold up a little while longer. It could only be a matter of hours now.

The large fern that took the majority of the space in the cramped hot house waved gently as he read and typed up the data. He looked up at it and smiled.

“Not long now.” He said out loud.

The greenhouse creaked its response. The windows strained. It couldn’t be long.

As Domoney smiled at the plant, a digital display showed a straight horizontal line graph dipping in the middle to resemble a smile.

Another monitor beeped loudly, demanding Domoney’s attention. It was ready. All the people were inside now. He picked up another keyboard, sweat dropped from his nose onto the keys. He ignored it and began typing furiously.

Outside at the main gates the thousands of people that had been swarming into the gardens for the past few hours had finally stopped.

The long creeping plants that grew along and above the gates slowly loosened their grip on the frames that held them and the gates began to swing shut as they tightened around the wrought iron. Tying themselves together. None of the humans saw it. They were all too busy smiling into the cameras. Smiling at the pretty pink and yellow flowers that they loved so much.

“It’s time.”

Domoney looked up at the fern again.  Roots crept from the floor and from under the bank of monitors. Intertwining with the cables and wires that were everywhere now. Domoney stood in the middle of It all. The ceiling creaked again. He was showered in glass and green light.

Everything was green.


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