In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry

Front cover image

Seamus O'Brien

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Garden Art Press
Territory: World
Size: 306 mm x 244 mm
Pages: 367
Illustrations: 500 colour

RRP £40.00

  • A must for botany enthusiasts and professionals alike
  • Traces botanical discoveries in China from the late 1800s to the late 1990s in both a specialist and wider cultural context

Augustine Henry is one of the most famous of the pioneering plant hunters to have travelled to China during the latter part of the 19th century, playing a key role in establishing the basis for our present knowledge of the Chinese flora. His account of the destruction of great tracts of China's forests prompted later plant hunters like E. H. Wilson, George Forrest, Frank Kingdon Ward and William Purdom to venture to China in the name of plant exploration and introduction. In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry tells the fascinating story of his life and work and documents the expeditions undertaken by a dedicated team of botanists and horticulturalists in the 1990s to revisit Henry's routes, many of which were in danger of being flooded with the installation of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River.

Seamus O'Brien is a plantsman, plant hunter, author and lecturer. He is Ireland's leading authority on plants from the temperate regions of China and his travels in pursuit of plants have taken him across Nepal, China, California, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania, effectively 'in the footsteps' of Augustine Henry on a number of expeditions. He is a regular contributor to Irish Garden among other publications and currently manages Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, an 18th century country estate belonging to the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in Dublin. He has won several awards in recognition of his expertise including the 1996 Christopher Brickell award and two awards granted by the RHS Bursary Committee. Many of his most recent introductions can be found in Western gardens.

What the press have said about this book...

In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry made it to the 2011 'Books of the Year' in The Irish Times

"Seamus O’Brien, the curator of Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, near Wicklow, has spent eight years writing a book he hopes will redress the balance. In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry (Garden Art Press, £40) is the first detailed account of Henry’s time in China. In researching the book, O’Brien visited the Three Gorges of Hubei (formerly Hupeh) Province and Yunnan, Shanghai and Taiwan, which Henry knew so well, giving the reader a glimpse of a botanical paradise" The Telegraph, 8th October 2011

“It is beautifully written and illustrated and is destined for the libraries of those who are passionate about the plants they grow in their gardens” The Plantsman, September 2011

“Seamus O’Brien has produced a wonderfully detailed and well-research book of untrammelled verve” BBC Gardens Illustrated, August 2011

“This handsome volume, lavishly illustrated with period and recent photographs, tells the story of a remarkable Irishman set into the modern context” The Irish Garden, July 2011

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