Archive by category | Arboriculture

The arboricultural explorer

Thomas Pakenham at the top of Mount Maenam, Sikkim, hunting rhododendron seeds, 2013.

Thomas Pakenham is a historian and arboriculturalist whose books include the bestselling Meetings with Remarkable Trees (2003). His new book, The Company of Trees, chronicles his efforts to establish an arboretum at Tullynally, Ireland, intertwining moments in the history of botany, such as the exploits of Victorian plant hunter Joseph Hooker. His quest for rare trees and other plants took him to Patagonia to view the last vast monkey puzzle trees, to the Himalayas to find the rare Magnolia campbelli alba and beyond. Ahead of his appearance at Write on Kew, the Royal Botanical Garden’s inaugural literary festival, Pakenham talks about the slippery concept of ‘alien’ species, getting lost in a blizzard in Tibet, and pathogens that travel in packing cases.  Read more