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February 24, 2003
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Prince Charles has come clean about his penchant for botanical banter, insisting he won't talk to any old shrub. Chatting with angry, devious plants is far too risky, it seems, so certain types of vegetation have little hope of a natter with the Prince.

During a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens is London, Charles confided that he would have to choose his words carefully when he entered the dry tropics section. "I am supposed to be having a meaningful conversation here but I don't talk to cacti," he quipped. "They're far too dangerous."

His made his remarks after opening the Nash Conservatory, a 19th-century glasshouse that has recently been renovated.

The building was originally designed by John Nash in 1825 and built in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. In 1836 it was moved to Kew, and Charles made reference to King William IV's own conservationist leanings. "He was particularly concerned that no trees should be felled when carrying out this project," he said. "I only wish there were more developments where people could learn from that particular lesson."

Whether the facility's thorny inhabitants will be appeased by his tree-loving comments remains to be seen, however. As yet there has been no response from the botanical gardens' cacti over the Prince's conversation snub.

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Photo: ©
The Prince was feeling frosty when he entered the tropical sectiony
Photo: ©
The royal prefers to save his conversation for less prickly characters

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