The more I read other nature writers the more it’s obvious that in most cases they have their own defined niche or niches in which they are considered reasonably expert.

By training I was a plant ecologist and back then I was at best a rather flaky botanist. Show me a plant from St Kilda, my research site in Scotland, and I might still be able to identify it but I can’t identify the weeds growing in the verge of the road in which I live.

So my mission over the next year is to build up basic botanical identification skills for common plants of the British Isles. To do that I’m going to be looking out for inspiring botanists to learn from.

This week I got in contact with a young French botanist who lives in London to ask whether she’d like to collaborate. Fingers crossed she’ll be up for it!

Alongside plants, my secondary area to build up knowledge is going to be insects which have a strong relationship with plants.