Prince Charles has reacted with surprise after seeing the woody perennial he spent the last three days talking to was not one of his favourite plants.
Charles, who is a keen horticulturist, is well known for encouraging his plants to grow and thrive by chatting to them and is understood to have mistaken the President of the United States for a new addition to his collection of unusual shrubs.
“It was almost completely inanimate and had an unusually-coloured bark topped with wispy ferns, so it was an easy mistake to make,” he told Royal Equerry Simon Prince-Williams.
“I wasn’t quite sure of the species, but it was tall and a bright orange colour and my gardeners told me that it liked its bed kept well-watered – so I thought maybe some sort of tomato or possibly a kind of sunflower.
“Like a sunflower, it did occasionally slowly turn its head as if it was reacting to environmental stimulus, which was encouraging, and at times I really felt like it almost understood human speech.
“I also spoke to the lady who came with him, and she said that he reproduces well – but she did sound a rather bitter about that now I think about it,” he added.
“And then she asked if she could borrow my secateurs to clip off the seed head.”