Sonya Patel Ellis is a London-based writer, editor, artist and educator connecting plants and people past, present and future, through the prism of a botanical world. Combining a lifelong passion for plants, nature books, botanical art and herbaria with over 20 years of editorial, publishing, arts and educational experience she explores the story of plants and flowers through words, pictures, workshops, community projects and collaborations.
Her recent publication The Botanical Bible / Collin’s Botanical Bible (Abrams Books Ltd./William Collins, October 2019) was selected as one of Gardens Illustrated‘s ‘Best Gardening Books of 2018’, while her forthcoming book The Heritage Herbal (British Library Publications, 12 March 2020) is available to preorder from The British Library and other bookstores now, presenting a deep dive into the history of herbals, heritage herbs, modern recipes and remedies to heal, nourish and style and the author/illustrator Elizabeth Blackwell whose artworks accompany the text. At present, she is currently working on chapters for The Backyard Birdwatchers Bible/Collins Backyard Birdwatchers Bible (Harper Collins, autumn 2020), connecting plants with pollinators; fruits, seeds and insects with feathered friends; and art inspired by the avian world. Her select collection of pressed botanicals and other artworks can also be found under the guise of The Herbarium Project, founded since 2013 (also featured in Gardens Illustrated, Nov 2016).
Sonya also delivers regular workshops inspired by botanical world. She lives with the artist Tom Ellis in A Botanical World HQ and has two boys age 6 and 9. They like her books, pressed flowers and penchant for producing botanical pop-ups around Forest Gate but would much rather hang out with their mates then come to the garden centre. They will, however, always come blackberry picking if they can eat most of them before they get home, are not averse to eating her honey and rosemary lollies and are adding their voices to the fight against climate change. The quest for a plant-inspired life and sustainable future does somehow align