Born in Corstorphine in 1751, Thomas Blaikie travelled in Switzerland collecting plants, before becoming a gardener to the French aristocracy. His diaries and other papers, recently donated to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, tell the story of his encounters with people from very different social stations, whether it was fleeing for his life from unfriendly locals in the Swiss Alps to conversing with Voltaire or Marie Antoinette. Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith (Senior Lecturer in Modern History and Co-Director of the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St Andrews) will lead this informal event that will look at Thomas' diaries and the conversations that they describe within the broader historical contexts of botanical and political history, but also (and more specifically to Blaikie), the history of tourism and scholarly travel. The event will also explain something about the context of diary-writing in the 18th Century. Presented as part of Book Week Scotland, join us for a conversation about the Scottish gardener at the French Court.