Meriel Thurstan discovered botanical illustration while working at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. She later became a pivotal member of the Friends team at the Eden Project, organising and running talks, visits and courses. She holds a Silver Lindley medal from the RHS for her watercolours of fungi and a Bronze medal for an exhibit of different coloured potatoes. Meriel founded the South West Society of Botanical Artists in 2006, which aims to promote and encourage botanical art to the highest standard. Her own botanical paintings hang in England, France and Australia. She lives in Somerset.