Leif Bersweden – Where the Wildflowers Grow: My Botanical Journey Through Britain and Ireland

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Our resident flora is packed full of remarkable creatures. There are plants that poison predators, fight battles and play mind games with pollinators. We have carnivores and climbers, puppeteers and parasites. Some are giants thousands of years old, while others are tiny pinpricks a millimetre across.

In 2021, Leif Bersweden went on a big botanical adventure around Britain and Ireland with his bike, travelling from Hampshire’s Bluebell woods to the shores of Shetland, to track down our most intriguing and well-known plants, with the people who love them most dearly.

This talk follows him on that journey as he botanises his way through an entire calendar year, meeting our plants, telling their stories, and exploring people’s connection to their local flora. Plants are capable of extraordinary things that we rarely hear about or give them credit for, and Leif is here to share their ways with new audiences. It is all about the joy of engaging with nature, the importance of plants for our climate, and celebrating our unbelievable botanical diversity.

Leif Bersweden is a writer, botanist and science communicator with a face-down, bottom-up approach to watching nature. He grew up in rural Wiltshire where he taught himself how to identify the local wildlife. More recently, Leif completed a genetics PhD at Kew Gardens and is the author of The Orchid Hunter (2017) and Where the Wildflowers Grow (2022).

The talk is third in the series of talks being hosted by Teesdale Special Flora Trust’s Plants on the Edge project during 2022-3.

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