Farrer, Reginald 1880-1920

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Reginald Farrer was born in a rather well-to-do family at his parents old home in Yorkshire, England. Due to a speech defect he was educated at home. By 10 years of age he was a well-qualified field botanist with a "fair knowledge of plant anatomy." At 14 years he made his first rock garden in an abandoned quarry. He entered Oxford University at 17 years of age and graduated in 1902. He went to Japan where he lived for eight months and wrote of his adventures in The Garden of Asia, 1904.

He used his home in Tokyo to explore in China, Korea, and Japan. Returning to England he attempted to become a novelist and poet but these publications were only mediocre. He eventually realized that his talents lay in gardening. In 1907 he published My Rock Garden which was a very popular and influential book which was kept continuously in print for more than 40 years. His next publications were Alpines and Bog Plants (1908), In a Yorkshire Garden (1909) and Among the Hills (1910). In 1913 he published The Dolomites: King Laurin's Garden which deals with plant hunting in the Italian Dolomites. Next he went plant hunting in Tibet and the Province of Kansu in China. The adventures and successes of the Purdom-Farrer expedition were published in On the Eaves of the World (1917) and The Rainbow Bridge (1921). He died in 1920 on a plant expedition with E.H.M. Cox in the field while collecting in China and was buried at Konglu.