Alistair Watt - 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Alistair Watt.jpg

"Robert Fortune: A Scottish Gardener in China"

Alistair Watt is the author of Robert Fortune: A Plant Hunter in the Orient, a recently published account of the expeditions of the Scottish botanist into China in the 19th century. Fortune introduced more than 280 plant species to the West, many of which are well-known garden plants today. In researching the book, Alistair retraced Fortune’s travels in China.

Also a Scot, whose family roots are from Ayreshire, Alistair turned from furniture making to botany, with a special interest in conifers. His own plant collecting expeditions have included China, Chile and the South Pacific and his private arboretum at Lavers Hill in the Otways includes many rare species that originated in the ancient continent of Gondwana. His expertise has been called upon by national and international botanical collections and expeditions.