In October 1987, a great storm drove in from the English Channel, devastating the southeastern counties of the British Isles. Huge gaps opened in the landscape of England, and the historic tree collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London, and Wakehurst Place in West Sussex lay fallen. The storm exposed the mortality of heritage trees for all to see and provided the impetus for a new wave of plant collecting by the Royal Botanic Gardens, led by the enterprising Mark Flanagan and Tony Kirkham. The losses sparked a realization: the collections at Kew and Wakehurst Place lacked key representatives of the world's temperate woodlands, and to fill the gaps, Flanagan and Kirkham looked east, to the species-rich temperate forests of Korea, Taiwan, eastern Russia and Japan. These hidden corners of the Far East became their hunting ground. Plants are at the heart of this story, and the descriptions convey the excitement of the find.
The narrative unfolds with an immediacy that makes us feel right there beside them as they uncover rarities like Cotoneaster wilsonii (found only on the remote island of Ullung-Do), hang off the side of a gorge to collect the seed of Magnolia sieboldii and endure a punishing day in search of the Taiwan beech. Vividly illustrated with color maps and photographs, this entertaining travelogue will appeal to travellers, plant-lovers and anyone with an interest in the rich diversity of flora of the Far East.
Buy Plants from the Edge of the World book by Mark Flanagan from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(229mm x 178mm x 24mm)
Publisher: Timber Press
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Author Biography - Mark Flanagan
Mark Flanagan is Keeper of the Gardens in Windsor Great Park, where he is responsible for the world-renowned Savill and Valley Gardens as well as the gardens at Frogmore (the resting place of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) and Royal Lodge. He has traveled extensively in search of hardy plants, with visits to Turkey, eastern Asia, western Canada and the western United States. He lectures widely and contributes regularly to horticultural journals. Mark is married and has two children; they all live in a house in the woods in Windsor Great Park. Tony Kirkham is the Head of the Arboretum and Horticultural Services at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, where he cares for and develops 10,000 woody trees in the collection. Tony began working with trees as a forestry apprentice in Surrey, and then as a commercial tree surgeon in West Germany. He earned a diploma in horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and then proceeded to spend the next 30 years of his life working at the gardens. Now he lectures internationally, runs workshops, and publishes papers on a wide range of subjects. He has taken numerous plant-collecting trips across Asia, and many trees now growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew originated from seeds obtained on those trips. In his spare time, Tony enjoys fly fishing and hunting. He is married with two children and lives in London.