Chapter outlines

Chapter 1

The Thistle from Madagascar

The Portuguese at the Cape of Good Hope ~ first Cape plant taken to Europe ~ The Dutch East India Company ~ Cape plants for sale

Chapter 2

The Company’s Garden

Jan van Riebeeck and the founding of Cape Town ~ scurvy, fresh vegetables and all kinds of weather ~ the first Cape herbarium

Chapter 3

God and Friendly Nature Combined

Governor van der Stel ~ drawings from an expedition to Namaqualand ~ Jan Commelijn and the Amsterdam apothecaries’ garden ~ Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy

Chapter 4

Men of Questionable Sanity

Kew and the Cape ~ Sir Joseph Banks ~ James Cook and Resolution ~ Anders Sparrman, the enthusiastic Swede ~ Carl Thunberg and the Flora Capensis

Chapter 5

The Scots Garden-Hand

Francis Masson, Kew’s first international collector ~ Thunberg and Masson’s joint expeditions ~ ox wagons, plant presses, seeds and bulbs ~ winter rains and spring flowers ~ Masson’s Massonia ~ Sparrman returns

Chapter 6

A View to Gratify a Curiosity

William Paterson and the Countess of Strathmore ~ baboons and extinct zebras ~ Masson under suspicion ~ travel costs ~ Masson leaves the Cape at last

Chapter 7

A Collection of Collectors

The royal gardeners of Vienna ~ James Niven, another Scot ~ the well-travelled William Burchell ~ the unfulfilled James Bowie ~ botanical missionaries ~ William Harvey and his Flora Capensis ~ Marianne North, itinerant artist

Chapter 8

From Cape to Cultivation

Development and demands of European gardens ~ stoves, glasshouses and nurseries ~ a multitude of Cape plants in pots and print ~ the first greenhouse effect

Chapter 9

The Treasures of this Beautiful Tribe

Cape bulbs in cultivation ~ Gladiolus ~ Freesia ~ Agapanthus ~ Nerine ~ Ixia ~ Sparaxis ~ Amaryllis and more

Chapter 10

Cross-pollinating in Upper Tooting

The rise and fall of Cape heaths and proteas, from obsession to obscurity

Chapter 11

This Good-tempered Flower

Pelargoniums and their remarkable contribution to the window-boxes (and pots, borders and beds) of the world

Chapter 12 

Bear’s Ears and Garden Diamonds

More garden plants from the Cape cornucopia – Streptocarpus ~ Nemesia ~ Osteospermum ~ Gazania ~ Lobelia ~ orchids and others

Chapter 13

The Smallest Kingdom

Natural history of the Cape Floral Kingdom ~ landscape, climate and ecology ~ fynbos and fire ~ conservation and the alien curse

Chapter 14

Back to its Roots

Modern-day collecting ~ new species still discovered ~ contemporary research ~ Kirstenbosch ~ The Botanical Society of South Africa

100+ full colour botanical paintings; numerous historical illustrations and contemporary photographs.