Atomic Sunflower, or; My Trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden

While I was in London, on of the first touristy things I did was go to the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was opened in the 1600s and to this day contains only plants that have traditionally had medicinal properties. It was such a cool garden to visit, I spent all day wandering around, looking at and learning about all the different types of plants that can help and harm humans. But one of the best things I learnt was this;  sunflowers have the ability to absorb radionucleotides from the soil, if those particles have settled say due to a radioactive waste dump or a nuclear explosion. What an amazing scientific factoid, I thought, I'm going to write a story about it. So I did! And then I submitted it to Moss Piglet Journal, and they're going to publish it, because they're the best.

Below I've attached an excerpt of said story, which is titled 'Atomic Sunflower'. To read the full thing, keep an eye on Moss Piglet for a release date for Issue 4 to be announced. 

"On my walk from the hollowed-out Westfield shopping center to the garden, I pass fields of sunflowers. Their bright heads bow down with the weight of uranium based radionuclides. I recognise this flower from a dress that Theo used to wear, with torn tights and Doc Martin boots. He wore it to my birthday party, he'd been invited by a friend of mine who didn't want to come alone. Theo had taken my hand and shook it, introducing himself, but after that he didn't pay all that much attention to me, and that'd upset me, much more than it should have. It was my birthday, and he was super cute, and I wanted to get to know him. 

***

"Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh poisoned himself with an overdose of foxglove leaves?"

"No."
 
"It didn't kill him, but from that day on he saw the world in shades of yellow. Did you know that Agatha Christie trained as one of the first female apothecaries assistants?" 

"No."

"She learned about all those poisons while training to heal people with plants. 

"Cool."

"Did you know you can weave a fire-retardant shirt from nettle fibres? That taking a bite of a Kangaroo Apple will stop you from getting pregnant? That you can kill someone by shooting them with an arrow tipped with wintersweet?" 

"No."

"Well, you should. It is important to know these things, now."