146 pages, 4 plates with colour photos; colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations, tables
John Scouler has been overshadowed as a plant collector and general natural historian by the reputation of David Douglas, the best known 19th century Scottish botanist. Scouler was one of the first naturalists to visit the Galapagos islands (1825, several years before Darwin) during a voyage to the Pacific northwest of America, in the company of Douglas. With the aid of funding from the Blodwen Lloyd Binns bequest, Charles Nelson has studied Scouler’s original notebooks and research papers and has written a fully illustrated book on his life and contributions to science. This research was suggested by Blodwen Lloyd Binns herself.
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Dr. Charles Nelson is a freelance botanist, lecturer and author. A native of Northern Ireland, he graduated from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1971, and proceeded to the Australian National University, Canberra, where he carried out his doctoral research. Charles returned to Ireland and in 1976 joined the staff of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin, as Horticultural Taxonomist. He resigned in 1995 and now lives with his wife, Sue, in the Fenlands of West Norfolk. They also have an old farmhouse on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
He is the author of over 20 books and more than 150 research papers. He is an associate editor of Archives of Natural History (the journal of the Society for the History of Natural History), and of Heathers (yearbook of The Heather Society). His botanical interests are diverse and range from the flora of The Burren to heathers and Australian Proteaceae, and he maintains a broad interest in the history of botany and horticulture in Ireland.
Among his numerous publications are several books about The Burren – The Burren: A Companion to the Wildflowers of an Irish Limestone Wilderness, illustrated with watercolours by Wendy Walsh (1996) and Wild Plants of The Burren and the Aran Islands, illustrated with photographs (The Collins Press, Cork, 2007). Other books include Sea beans and Nickar Nuts (BSBI, 2000), The Wild and Garden Plants of Ireland (Thames & Hudson, 2009), The Shamrock: History and Botany of an Irish Myth, and A Heritage of Beauty: An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Irish Garden Plants (voted "Best reference book 2001 by the Garden Writers Guild). In 2009, a collection of his essays on Irish garden history was published: An Irishman's Cuttings, and in 2010, a new edition of William Robinson's famous book The Wild Garden, annotated and illustrated with photographs (both Collins Press, Cork). His monograph about hardy heathers was published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2011).
In 2012 he was awarded the Founders Medal of the Society for the History of Natural History. In February 2015 he received the Royal Horticultural Society's Gold Veitch Memorial Medal for his "outstanding contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture". Dr Nelson is co-President of the Northern Ireland Heritage Gardens Committee and since February 2015 he serves as a trustee of the Catesby Commemorative Trust.