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Scottish gardener and botanist Thomas Blaikie (1751–1838) spent the majority of his life in France, where he designed and planted some of the most famous Parisian gardens: he drew up the original plans for the gardens of the Château de Bagatelle and renovated the Parc Monceau.

He became a favourite of Marie Antoinette, and served patrons among the highest ranks of the aristocracy in pre-revolutionary France, including the Comte d'Artois and the Duc d'Orléans.

After surviving the French Revolution, he received a commission to create gardens for Empress Joséphine at her Malmaison country retreat.

Blaikie kept this fascinating diary from 1775 until August 1792. More than just an account of his vast gardening knowledge and achievements, the book gives a unique insight into the social history of the revolutionary period in France.

It was then edited by the critic and journalist Francis Birrell (1889–1935) and first published in 1931.

© The Royal Horticultural Society 2017