"Once upon a time there was a boy who was brought up in Cornwall, and the name of this boy was Charles. The first love of his life were the plants that grew in his garden, the second love was painting and drawing, and the third was houses.
But at school he did not love Latin. In fact he did not like school much either, and while he was there he developed a streak of cynicism which portrayed itself in the form of cartoons.
His first job was working in a picture gallery in London. He enjoyed this very much, and also looking at the funny people who came into the gallery, and drawing them.
At weekends, when he was not visiting gardens he looked at more pictures in the famous galleries and museums.When he was older he went back to school in order to learn how to design gardens, and to learn about plants other than rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias. He took as many photographs as he could of all the new plants he was learning about, wrote the Latin names on the backs of the photographs, and on the way home in the train played plant pelmanism – when he was not doing caricatures or portraits of the passengers opposite him. And in spite of the doodling, he came out top.
He designed gardens, he took people around gardens, he lectured on gardens, then he painted some of the gardens he had helped design - and some gardens he had not designed but wished he had. He painted some of the plants that grew in the gardens and he wrote about them. And wherever he went Charles would always find a container and fill it with flowers.
One day he was invited to visit a garden in Hampshire. He thought he had never seen anything as beautiful as this garden until all of a sudden a labradoodle leapt over a box hedge. Charles painted him – and has painted many other beautiful dogs since then. But best of all he likes anything to do with plants. Charles is happy in his work."