For the long weekend we are visiting friends in the Loire Valley in France. There we come across the Château de Clos Lucé, next to the magnificent Chateau de Amboise. This was where Leonardo da Vinci spent the final three years of his life, as an honoured guest of the King of France. The place is a celebration of his inventions, but also of his keen empirical eye for nature, the magnificent gardens and explanations of how he combined a meticulous eye for detail and pattern with a celebration of natural forms. I had not previously appreciated what a botanist this ultimate Renaissance Man had been.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University