The first plant enthusiasts to reach China found a wonderful array of unfamiliar garden plants that had been nurtured by Chinese gardeners for thousands of years. This is the amazing and hitherto untold story of the struggles, the daring and the dogged perseverance of those early collectors. Where would we be without magnolias, camellias, chrysanthemums, tree peonies, repeat-flowering roses, viburnums and so many more?
Jane Kilpatrick writes with knowledge and affection of the amateur pioneers and the plants they introduced to an audience that had not realized the flowers they had seen on wallpapers, silks and ceramics could be real. Remarkable original research opens a whole new chapter in the story of our garden plants. It celebrates the skilled gardeners of Imperial China. It includes beautiful illustrations: author's own photographs of plants in European gardens and in China, early botanical illustrations, Chinese wallpapers and ceramics, watercolours from forgotten archives. It is an essential book for every thinking gardener's library, and a lively read for all.
Jane Kilpatrick is a dedicated plantswoman with a passionate interest in Chinese plants. She is the author of Fathers of Botany: The Discovery of Chinese Plants by European Missionaries.
A pleasure to dip into. English Garden I cannot praise this book enough. The author has uncovered a wealth of material, a rich slice of garden history and woven it into a most compelling tale. I must hope that she will be equally tempted if not persuaded to take it on from there. Horticulturalist This beautiful book with its many lovely coloured illustrations is not only a joy to look at, but also tells an amazing story of the determination and perseverence shown by the succession of courageous men who brought us so many of our best-loved garden shrubs and flowers. The Brown Book