The Herbarium Project was founded in 2013 by illustrated book editor, writer, artist and life-long nature lover Sonya Patel Ellis, as a platform to explore parallels between nature, art, books and culture through the multi-faceted prism of a botanical world.

Inspired by research into the art of pressed flowers, Sonya made her own traditional herbarium press and began systematically pressing flowers from her own garden and further afield. Various exhibitions, events, workshops, writings and commissions followed and continue to evolve including collaborations with the Garden Museum, City of London, The British Library, Chelsea Fringe, French Riviera gallery and the award-winning Marksman Public House and Restaurant.

Sonya’s work with The Herbarium Project was also recently featured in Gardens Illustrated magazine and Time Out. Editorially, Sonya has worked with numerous clients including the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts, Macmillan, Quarto Group, Elliot & Thompson, Think Books, Butterfly Conservation, Friends of the Earth, Wanderlust magazine and the Sunday Times Travel magazine. Recent books include Nature Tales: Encounters with Britain’s Wildlife with Michael Allen and a foreword by David Attenborough (2010), A History of the World in 500 Walks (Editor, 2016), A History of the World in 500 Railway Journeys (Editor) and The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small (Nature & Art entries 2017).

Sonya is currently writing a book of all things botanical, The Botanical Bible, commissioned by Harper Collins, published by Miller Collins (UK) and Abrams (US) in Autumn 2018. The book covers all things botanical from the story of flowers to basic botany plus growing and gathering, botanical recipes, botanical remedies and botanical art, craft and design. More information coming soon as we hope to feature lots of other botanically-minded or inspired people within. If you have content you think would be suitable (words and/or images), please email abotanicalworld@gmail.com cc sonyapatelellis@gmail.com stating The Botanical Bible and your details in the subject line.

The Herbarium Project deals in words and pictures so please do get in touch regarding other commissions, exhibitions, writing, styling or editorial work. We’d love to hear from you . . .

For ongoing inspiration from the field visit our new Instagram page @theherbariumproject


Click on the links below to view full press releases / exhibition texts:

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

R-Evolution Series

The Story Within

The Story Within // R-Evolution Series

The Story Without // Hortus Uptonensis

Herb Garden at the Marksman // for Chelsea Fringe 2016

For press cuttings, see our press page here >



We have also produced some information sheets, on herbarium practices, for events such as Seeing Floral at The Garden Museum. These include:

A short history of herbaria

Preparing and pressing herbarium specimens

Mounting herbarium specimens

PLEASE NOTE: All documents, artwork and images (including information sheets / handouts above & Instagram images) are © of Sonya Patel Ellis, or the attributed author / creator. Please ask if you would like to use any anything – where possible, we are always happy to help. Please email sonyapatelellis@gmail.com, or call 07961 102722, with any enquiries.