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Reginald Farrer

(1880—1920) traveller and plant collector


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(1880–1920), plant collector and writer who, after Balliol College, Oxford, developed a precocious interest in alpine plants. He explored the Alps, then Japan, and in 1907 Ceylon (Sri Lanka), there becoming a Buddhist. His Japanese experience produced his first book, and in 1907 My Rock Garden was published, giving him the immediate reputation of an expert, followed successfully by three associated titles. In 1910 he conceived and began writing the two-volume encyclopedia The English Rock Garden (1919). China beckoned, and he made two journeys to the East, the first during 1914–16 with Kew-trained William Purdom (1880–1921), the second 1919–20 partly in the company of Euan Cox (1893–1977), the noted rhododendron collector and breeder. Two books resulted, On the Eaves of the World (2 vols., 1917) and Rainbow Bridge (1921), posthumously published following his death in Burma. Farrer's plant introductions are few but choice, and his writings illuminate his enthusiasm for alpine plants.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.



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