In 1992, whilst living in Kuala Lumpur, Penny German met Dr. David Jones when she attended a lecture given by him at the University of Malaya. She discussed with him her idea for creating a book of illustrations to introduce visitors and enthusiasts to the wonderful world of Malaysian flora. It was evident that these visual portraits should be accompanied by an informed and accurate text in order to educate as well as inspire.
And so it was that these two plant-lovers began to collaborate on a project which would take almost two years. Penny relied heavily on David to help her access the plant material, meaning accompanying him and his team on field trips into jungle, mountain and occassionally…………a rubbish dump. On return from university research trips, David would often arrive at Penny’s home armed with a large plant specimen or two which would, by necessity, take pride of place in the fridge ready for painting the next day – perishable foods soon became a secondary consideration.
In 1993, Oxford University Press decided to produce and publish the book and it was launched at a ceremony at the British High Commission by the Minister of Culture. Since then, Flora of Malaysia Illustrated has become a book enjoyed by students, tourists and botany enthusiasts.
Penny returned to the UK shortly afterwards, taking up her next project on a subsequent posting to Israel. Here she completed a series of illustrations of the Iris Atropurpurea family for the RHS which won a silver medal at the RHS Spring Show in 2000.