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A lively survey of some of the colonial botanic gardens which evolved in the wake of the development of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The author shows that these botanic gardens were the heartbeat of an empire, shining 'a light on an extraordinary period of history and the people who made it'. Chapters are devoted to, amongst others, the gardens of St. Vincent, Peradeniya (Sri Lanka), Calcutta, Singapore, Mauritius, Melbourne and Sydney.