cover of book

Napoleon’s Garden Island: Lost and Old Gardens of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean
by Donal P. McCracken
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2022
Cloth: 978-1-84246-748-0 | eISBN: 978-1-84246-749-7

Napoleon’s Garden Island reveals the amazing botanical history of one remote Atlantic island.
Though the South Atlantic island of St. Helena is best known as the site of Napoleon’s exile following his final defeat in 1815, this remote locale also has a rich gardening heritage and a population of highly diverse flora, both exotic and endemic. This is due to St. Helena’s history as a stopover for the vast East India Company fleets on their way to Europe, whose cargo holds carried not only spices but also plants from China, Malaysia, and India. As a result, St. Helena became a botanical hub and the island’s private plantation houses cultivated a number of extraordinarily varied gardens.

Illustrated throughout with drawings, maps, and archival materials, Napoleon’s Garden Island looks to St. Helena’s past and future alike. McCracken explores the island’s native and introduced flora, ultimately appealing for the establishment of a new permanent garden to showcase this singular botanical blend. Turning away from the military matters that characterize most other books about St. Helena’s history, Napoleon’s Garden Island highights how a dazzling assortment of plants have thrived thousands of miles from their nearest neighbors.

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