Jeffrey pine cone

The Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) was discovered by Scottish plant hunter John Jeffrey in northern California in 1852. Jeffrey is the protagonist in my latest book GREEN GOLD. Read More

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Gifting a voice beyond the grave

“Seek out gaps, as these offer opportunities for creativity”, said Hilary Mantel in her BBC Reith Lecture. I recognise this as the element which drew me towards my first biographical fiction novel. I hope botanists don’t rattle their vasculums, nor prospectors clatter their pans, in protest at my own version of history when they get their hands on GREEN GOLD. Read More

John Jeffrey rediscovered

In 1849 an influential group of subscribers came together under the care of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) to sponsor a plant-hunter, John Jeffrey, and support his ambitious expedition to North America in 1850. But after his mysterious disappearance, just four years later, he was soon all-but-forgotten. I’m delighted to announce that the little-known exploits of John Jeffrey will be celebrated in public for the first time, fittingly in a new collaboration with RBGE. Read More

A plant-hunter’s extraordinary journey

John Jeffrey, the main character in my latest book Green Gold, walked, paddled and rode at least 10,000 miles across North America while hunting for plants from 1850-4. During the two years I spent researching and writing the book I plotted his travels in detail and can now publish the route in full for the first time. Read More