Leif’s lifelong interest in nature began with a focus on wild plants from the age of seven. Growing up in rural Wiltshire, he taught himself to identify the local flora. Botanising – the art of simply wandering along and noticing the plants growing around you – was simply a relaxing activity full of intrigue and discovery. But the interest took hold, and Leif went on to study plant science in greater depth, most recently completing a genetics PhD at Kew Gardens.
Now, Leif brings his knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for wildflowers to the page. Over the course of 2021 he has journeyed around Britain and Ireland, botanising through the seasons, from Cornish coastal roads to Caledonian pine forests, even handling carnivorous plants on the Norfolk Broads. Where the Wildflowers Grow: My Botanical Journey Through Britain and Ireland follows Leif geographically and chronologically through the year, to tell the story of our wild plants and the place they occupy in our lives today.
Readers will learn from Leif’s expert knowledge, but also of the value of spending time in green spaces. As an accessible and mindful activity with no cost or time-specific requirements, botanising can benefit
us on a large scale and small, from improving wellbeing to protecting the planet long-term. There are few parts of the natural world that are as essential to our lives as plants. Wildflowers are everywhere we go, even in the heart of cities. Botanical diversity is a barometer for the state of our ecosystems and historically plants have been used in all aspects of our lives.
Why have we written plants into stories and steeped them in folklore and superstition? What can plant hunting do to help us develop a sense of place? How can we begin to develop emotional connections with plants? Through exploring themes like these, Where the Wildflowers Grow will build a picture of what our wild plants are and why the reader should go out to look for them.
Tickets £5 refundable on purchase of the book