Augustine Henry is one of the most famous of the pioneering plant hunters to have travelled to China during the latter part of the 19th century, playing a key role in establishing the basis for our present knowledge of the Chinese flora. His account of the destruction of great tracts of China's forests prompted later plant hunters like E. H. Wilson, George Forrest, Frank Kingdon Ward and William Purdom to venture to China in the name of plant exploration and introduction. 'In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry' tells the fascinating story of his life and work and documents the expeditions undertaken by a dedicated team of botanists and horticulturalists in the 1990s to revisit Henry's routes, many of which were in danger of being flooded with the installation of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River.
Seamus O'Brien is a plantsman, plant hunter, author and lecturer. He is Ireland's leading authority on plants from the temperate regions of China and his travels in pursuit of plants have taken him across Nepal, China, California, Chile, New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania, effectively 'in the footsteps' of Augustine Henry on a number of expeditions. He is a regular contributor to Irish Garden among other publications and currently manages Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, an 18th century country estate belonging to the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in Dublin. He has won several awards in recognition of his expertise including the 1996 Christopher Brickell award and two awards granted by the RHS Bursary Committee. Many of his most recent introductions can be found in Western gardens.