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Reginald John Farrer

Reginald John Farrer was a botanist, traveller, plant collector and writer active in the early-20th century. He was born in London in February of 1880. He underwent several operations as a child and was educated at home. Farrer's father inherited the estate at Ingleborough in 1889, and at the age of 14 Reginald re-designed the alpine garden at the site. He attended Balliol College Oxford from 1898 to 1902, during which time he also helped construct the rock garden at St. John's College.

He travelled to Japan and Korea in 1903, publishing an account of his visit as The Gardens of Asia (1904). He was engaged in writing novels and poetry at this time, but also wrote the very successful My Rock Garden in 1907 and Alpines and Bog Plants in 1908. In the same year he travelled to Ceylon. His Craven Nursery Company won a first prize for alpines at Chelsea in May 1912.

He later travelled to China and Tibet, finding many new specimens. In 1919 he went to Upper Burma, discovering many new stunning plants, few of which were able to be raised in Britain. He continued his journey to Nyitadi, where he died in 1920, probably of diphtheria.


Morgan, Basil, 'Farrer, Reginald John (1880-1920)' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006) [accessed 23 June 2009]

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