My latest book – Green Gold: the Lost Journals of John Jeffrey – is now available to pre-order. To celebrate the lives of plant hunters, like John Jeffrey, here I share some of my favourite books on botany, botanical exploration, and the often extraordinary lives of the plant hunter. Think more Indiana Jones than shy retiring pansies, as these men and women travelled the world in search of plants, valuable for their beauty, medicines, timber, smell, and any number of other benefits.
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The Brother Gardeners tells the story how Britain became a nation of gardeners, masterfully told by Andrea Wulf, the author of the award-winning The Invention of Nature.
It’s hard to exclude a book by Richard Mabey in a list like this. The Cabaret of Plants is less a celebration of the plant hunter, more a rip-roaring charge through the science of botany. A great read.
The Plant Hunters by Carolyn Fry tells the story of our fascination with plants and the discovery of new species. This is the third edition, and it has proved a popular choice as an introduction to the history of achievements in plant hunting.
Respected garden historian Maggie Campbell-Culver produced The Origin of Plants in 2001 but it is still available, testament to its gorgeous illustrations and well-researched text. An excellent all-round introduction to the achievement of plant hunters through history.
Peter Moore’s Endeavour: the Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World, has just been published. A great read which brings to life the hardships of those of travelled the world in those heady times of botanical and physical exploration in the 18th century.
Green Gold: the Lost Journals of John Jeffrey is my fictional biography of a Victorian plant hunter, whose mysterious disappearance has remained a secret until now. Available to pre-order from Unbound Publishing. For a short time, you can still become a Book Patron, with your name (or a loved one’s) listed in its covers. Read more about Green Gold.