Botanical art has long-played a fundamentally important role in plant science. It seems fitting, given the Victorian era of my recent book GREEN GOLD, that I’m teaming up with a very talented botanical artist.

Even in the modern world of easy-access digital imagery, there remains something compelling and magical about botanical art, as demonstrated by the stunning work of Nicola Macartney.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – click to read story on the RGBE blog

I’m really excited by my collaboration with Nicola Macartney, who will be depicting some of the plants collected by John Jeffrey — the main protagonist in GREEN GOLD. Many of these plants are now growing among the living collections in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and its three regional gardens across Scotland: Benmore, Dawyck, and Logan.

Nicola specialises in botanical illustrations. She began studying botanical illustration
 at RBGE in 2008, taking a range of classes and completing the RBGE two-year Diploma in Botanical Illustration in 2012. She has won a number of awards.

Initial sketches and colour matching for Dodecatheon jeffreyi by Nicola Macartney. The delicate, dart-shaped flowers tilt downwards giving the appearance of shooting stars and are produced on tall stems rising from a basal rosette of leaves. The flowers are pale-pink with blue undertones. These specimens were found at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh where they are thriving in the rock garden.

Nicola’s illustrations of a selection of John Jeffrey’s plants will form part of an exhibition planned at RBGE next year, alongside archival materials including letters, minutes and plant labels, together with specimens from the herbarium. Read more

I will be featuring more of Nicola’s GREEN GOLD artwork over coming months. Do check out Nicola’s online features at:  and Facebook page


Green Gold — my latest book — will be published with support from crowdfunding. Please consider supporting the book. Visit my sponsorship page at Unbound Publishing to learn more and see the special Subscriber Offers.

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