Sep. 12th, 2016

lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: ]

I believe I've mentioned before that Reginald Farrer sent home regular dispatches on his second expedition to the Gardener's Chronicle. Had he lived, he would almost certainly have written another book or books about his travel -- indeed, I believe his dispatches to this publication were partly intended to build interest in both a forthcoming book and in the seeds he intended to bring back. (And partly because he couldn't help himself from sharing....) E.H.M. Cox, who traveled with him in the first year, produced an account in Farrer's Last Journey: Upper Burma, 1919-1920, and almost certainly drew heavily upon these accounts, in addition to the letters Farrer sent him after his departure.

The pdfs of the Gardener's Chronicle are not easy to read, and not searchable, so I am transcribing them as I have time. There are 39 of them, plus an obituary notice (I believe that Cox wrote it, but can't remember offhand). When they learned of Farrer's death, the editors despaired of having any further Farrer dispatches, but received a fat packet of dispatches-in-progress that were saved by his native assistants, so there's an extensive record. I hope some day to find where the Farrer/Cox correspondence is housed and look at it.

Shortly after making last week's post, on Nomocharis basilissa, I returned to transcription. I'm up to Number 9 of 39 and have great hopes that I will finish by next summer. The winter nights are long... And what did I find, but Farrer waxing rhapsodic on yet another Nomocharis -- Nomocharis pardinthina. Here's a watercolor:

Nomocharis pardanthina, watercolor by Reginald Farrer, in E.H.M. Cox, The Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer

effusive description and more photos here )


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