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Aspiring young botanist got into botany… through making guitars?!

As BBC Radio 4 launches “Roots to Riches” a major new 25 part series on Botany and all about the famous botanists of the past like Carl Linnaeus, it is fitting to showcase one of our most youngest botanists here!

Dr M’s own major zillion-part new series of botanical “selfies” continues with young botanist George Garnett who, at just 15 years old, is the youngest botanist in this series by a country mile!

I am… George Garnett, 15 year old aspiring botanist.

I got into botany… I actually got into plants through guitar building, I became quite interested in different timbers and this led to me becoming fascinated by trees, that interest in trees soon evolved into a love of all plants. That being said, I don’t know if my love of plants would be quite the same if it wasn’t for all of the extremely kind botanists who have given up their time for me!

I studied botany… Because I am still at school I have not had any formal botanical training yet. I gain most of my plant knowledge from looking at plants in the field and identifying them with keys, admittedly I do sometimes need help with plant identification from the nice botanists on twitter!

My research/interest area… I have worked with plants… I have a weekend job in a garden centre and I grow plants. Thinking about it, I am always looking at plants and one day I hope to become a plant taxonomist.

gg herbarium

I love all plants! I know most about British native plants solely because they are what surround me, I am especially interested in 3 hybrid Asplenium ferns that seem to only hybridise on the island of Guernsey which is where I live. I do however find the subtropical/tropical genus Dalbergia (Rosewood) really awesome! So far, I have only ever seen it in photos but who knows, maybe one day I might be able to research it!

The biggest challenge for botany today… This is just my opinion but I feel that in many people’s eyes, botany is unimportant. It seems to me that botany is forgotten about in place of more fashionable,  ‘newsworthy’ science. Students who leave school with good grades and want a career in science rarely think of botany, leaving it only open to people who have always been interested in it as a hobby. Of course, this is not a bad thing but it does mean that with the ever increasing number of children who have become detached from nature, the number of botanists will keep decreasing.

My favourite plant to use… The wood from the Dalbergia genus is beautiful and smells lovely. Sadly due to over exploitation all species are becoming scarce and for this reason I have only ever used salvaged Rosewood. Hopefully one day we can learn to value it more and use less of it so that future generations will be able to see the wonderful Rosewood trees.

My botanical superhero… Carl Linnaeus for sure, just think how unbearable life would be if we still had to use polynomial nomenclature!

Social media… @george_garnett


Image Credits: Rosewood Guitars by Lichty Guitars