It’s getting a bit more complicated than I thought, arranging an independent botanical art trip to central China!

I’ve booked the flight, am half-way through the jabs, but now that I’ve sent my itinerary to the Institue of Botany at Wuhan Botanical Gardens, my contact says that they can’t provide me with guides or interpreters. The best that they can suggest is that I contact each of the Nature Reserves I intend to visit as they all have their own guides.

That’s not exactly what I had in mind. I’d been led to believe that they would provide me with a guide who would know the area, find the plants I need to paint, act as interpreter, and arrange transport and accommodation.

So the hunt is on to find someone who can help me. Had a phone call from Roy Lancaster yesterday. Last time he was in China was 1992 and doesn’t know anyone there any more. Suggested I contact Seamus O’Brien at Glasnevin. It was Seamus who helped me put my itinerary together in the first place when I went to meet him in Dublin in early May. He’s organised three plant collecting trips to central and southern China already, so my itinerary was based on this model.  But it’s become quite clear that organising expeditions through official channels and institutions is quite different from going it alone.

I’m really going to have to apply some lateral thinking skills here. Anyone know a botanist interested in art who speaks English and lives/ works in the Hubei province?